- The World Bank has approved an additional financing of US$253 million for the Kenyan government to complete remaining contracts on the Northern Corridor project which will link Kenya’s capital with neighbouring Uganda and much of central African countries.
The approval adds up to $460 million of the Bank's support for the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project (NCTIP). The Bank’s statement said the initial financing of $207 million for the scheme was agreed by the Bank's Executive Board in June 2004.
The World Bank’s Country Director for Kenya, Johannes Zutt, said the extra resources will enable Kenya to rehabilitate key sections of the northern road corridor between Nairobi and the Ugandan border.
“This road is not just important for western Kenya, but is also a vital trade link for neighbouring landlocked countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Sudan,” he added.
The country’s rapid economic growth in the past five years, has led to high levels of traffic congestion in major cities, including Mombasa and Nairobi, thus the northern road corridor has experienced severe traffic jams causing transit delays for Kenya and other countries.
The World Bank statement said the 2007 post election violence has also resulted to major destruction of parts of the transport system and also exacerbated the problems.
The Kenya government said the additional financing will enable it make critical investments in the roads sector to sustain growth, particularly with the current global economic downturn.
“At long last, we can look forward to a world class road to Kisumu in Western Kenya, including an important by-pass, and also have a permanent solution to the frequent flooding of the road near Nyamasaria,” said Michael Kamau, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Roads.
The whole project which is expected to cost $960 million, will be funded by Kenya's government and the Bank. Other donors including the European Investment Bank, the Nordic Development Fund and the French Development Agency who are also providing co-financing.
The bank has also approved another $80 million to enable Kenya to expand its energy sector and implement electrification programmes to support economic growth and reduce regional disparities.
Currently, only 18 percent of Kenyans have electricity in their homes, with only three percent of families having electricity in the rural areas.
The credit is approved on standard terms of a 40-year maturity with a 10-year grace period provided by the International Development Association the Bank's concessionary lending arm.
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