The African Development Bank AfDB has awarded Kenya a loan of Ksh 17.5 billion for the construction of the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway.
The East African General Director of AfDB announced on July 15 that the bank’s Board of Directors had approved a loan of about $150 million. This loan will cover 175km from Rironi to Mau Summit, and it will be used to upgrade the road to a four-lane dual carriageway.
Another 57.8km two-lane road will also be constructed between Rironi and Naivasha.
“The roads also form part of the strategic Northern Corridor, which is the busiest trade and transport corridor in East Africa, providing gateway access to Kenya’s landlocked neighbouring countries,” AfDB directors said.
The AfDB funding represents only 10% of the total Ksh180 billion shillings required to upgrade the entire Nairobi-Nakuru Highway.
There are currently 10 financing institutions lining up to provide loans to Kenya for the completion of this project.
According to observers, the project is expected to generate up to 1,500 jobs during construction and a further 200 people during operation.
The project is part of the key strategic Northern Corridor which connects Nairobi and Mombasa with the Western part of the country. It is also a gateway to other landlocked neighboring countries including Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This project is managed by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KERA), which has settled on the Rift Valley Connect Consortium as the principal contractor for the project. The consortium, led by a French firm called Vinci, won a 30-year contract in 2019 to build and operate the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway.
Traders have lauded the project, saying that it will play a significant role in facilitating trade and reducing supply chain disruptions caused by traffic congestion.
“We hope it will commence and be completed on time. Traffic jam at the Mau Summit road has been causing us delays in supply and delivery of goods,” said Akoko, a trader based in Migori town.