All is set for the construction of two major trans-national road infrastructure projects within the East African Community which are expected to take off in 2019.
According to the Director General of African Development Bank AfDB’s Mr. Gabriel Negatu, theS$322 million would also go towards the construction of the One Stop Border Post at Manyovu-Mugina on the Tanzania/Burundi border.
“The bank would also finance the construction of the Malindi-Mombasa-Lunga Lunga/Horohoro-Tanga-Bagamoyo highway that straddles the coastlines of Kenya and Tanzania.” Mr. Negatu said.
The AfDB official said that the bank was highly encouraged by the benefits of some of the infrastructure projects it had undertaken and cited the Athi River-Namanga-Arusha road, which had reduced from one day to four hours the journey from Nairobi to Arusha.
Mr. Negatu was speaking during the commissioning of the Namanga OSBP by the Tanzanian President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr. Negatu said the construction and operationalization of OSBPs was in line with the Bank’s integrated approach to infrastructure development.
“This approach entails mainstreaming ‘soft’ components, such as trade facilitation measures in physical infrastructure projects to enhance their efficiency and developmental outcomes. In this context, the Bank availed US$8 million for the construction of the Namanga OSBP on the Kenyan side of the border,” he said, adding that the OSBP on the Tanzanian side had been built with funding from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The AfDB official disclosed that the Namanga OSBP was part and parcel of the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road construction project which was carried out with funding of approximately US$147 million comprising US$79 million from AfDB, US$49 million from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and about US$8 million from the governments of Kenya and Tanzania.
In his remarks, EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said that the Namanga OSBP was born out of an agreement between Tanzania and Kenya to upgrade the facilities at the border post in order to facilitate free trade through the efficient movement of goods and people across the border.
“The construction of the Namanga OSBP was part of the completed works for the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road. The project on both sides was virtually completed end of 2016 with piloting phase taking about one year,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.
Amb. Mfumukeko thanked AfDB and JICA for financial support that had enabled EAC to develop and implement soft infrastructure at the OSBP including interconnectivity, training materials and enabling laws which comprise: The East African OSBPs Act, 2016; The East African OSBPs Regulations, 2017, and; The EAC OSBPs Procedures Manual.
The Secretary General said that research had confirmed that in addition to enhancing Government revenue collections, the OSBPs had considerably reduced the overall dwell times across the EAC borders by between 50 per cent and 70 per cent.
Also present at the function were EAC Ministers Hon. Dr. Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania), Hon. Adan Mohammed (Kenya), East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Hon. Ngoga Martin, East African Court of Justice Judge President Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, EAC Deputies Secretary Generals in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote, and of the Political Federation Mr. Charles Njoroge. The EAC Director General Customs and Trade, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda was also present.