The construction of the transnational highway between East African countries Kenya and Tanzania is ready for 2019 kick-off revealed Gabriel Negatu, Director General of the East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB official made the statement through China’s official state-run press agency Xinhua.
The establishment of the mega project experienced delays with Kenya dragging its feet in undertaking the critical studies to address the process of construction of the road infrastructure.
Kenya failed to keep up the pace with its neighbouring country in recruiting contractors for feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments, which Tanzania had finalised.
Kenya’s Transport and Infrastructure secretary James Macharia said the delay was caused by the need to expand a section of the proposed highway into a dual carriageway to ease traffic congestion.
“We had to change the designs to make sure we do not have a bottleneck at Nyali-Mtwapa area because the traffic there is a very big problem,” Mr Macharia stated.
The Malindi – Bagamoyo road construction project will kick off early next year despite speculations it would begin in late 2018. The transnational highway is essential to steer trade and business opportunities not only between the two countries but the East African Community (EAC) bloc.
The need for infrastructure development cannot be over-emphasised as it has a significant impact on the economy and most African governments seek to better their infrastructure to embellish their business environment.
The highway is expected to ease the movement of traffic from both Mombasa and Tanga ports, destined to neighbouring land-locked countries Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and DR Congo.
It will also increase investment in regional infrastructure projects in order to boost cross-border trade, the AfDB official noted.
Lawson Zankli AfDB’s chief regional program officer said, “The improved infrastructure will help in easing movement of tourist along the Kenya-Tanzania coastline, ” boosting the tourism sector for both countries.
The 460-kilometre road begins in Malindi and moves through Mombasa and Lunga Lunga on the Kenyan side, before crossing into Tanga, Tanzania, through Pangani and Saadani National Park to Bagamoyo.
The Tanzania-Kenya road project will include the rehabilitation of the 216km Malindi-Lunga Lunga Road and the upgrading to bitumen standard the section that connects Tanga to Bagamoyo.
AfDB is a crucial player in regional infrastructure development with the financial institution’s portfolio reaching $8.7 billion in Eastern Africa.
The bank is funding 70 per cent of the project with Tanzania and Kenya summing up the remaining deficit. It is also one of the largest joint projects between the two nations.
Kenya and Tanzania also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Water Resources Management of Trans-Boundary Mara River Basin late this year, cementing their bilateral relations to work together for mutual benefits.