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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved on Wednesday, March 30, a US $228-million loan to the Government of Kenya to rehabilitate 172-kilometre road, linking the towns of Isebania and Ahero, an axis located southeast of Lake Victoria. The renovation of this route will facilitate trade between Kenya and Tanzania, while the social aspects associated with the project will accelerate the socio-economic development of the regions along the road, benefitting nearly two million people.
The improvement works, which are to be undertaken from 2016-2019, are expected to reduce to half the travel time and transport costs between the town of Isebania, on the Tanzanian border, and the town of Ahero. The Isebania-Kisii-Ahero Road forms part of the Sirari Corridor, a major trade and transit route linking Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan. It serves as the main trade route between Mwanza port (Tanzania), Kisumu port (Kenya), and onward to Juba (South Sudan). The project implementation area is at the crossroads of several road corridors. Once completed, the road will facilitate local and international trade, strengthening regional integration.
Substantial economic benefits are expected for the areas along the road. The road will open up new markets for agri-businesses and the fishing industry. The construction of 77 km of secondary roads should allow local producers to get their products to the consumption centres. The project also includes funding for several markets along the road. “Lower transport will ensure that a greater share of the price of exported goods accrues to producers thereby increasing incomes and reducing poverty,” said Amadou Oumarou, Director of the Transport and Information and Communications Technology (ITC) Department at the AfDB. The strengthening of public transport is also part of the project, with the financing for construction of three bus stations, further facilitating the movement of people in the region.
Nyabondo Hospital, located on the route, will be equipped with a department specialized in road accidents and six ambulances. The Bank will also fund the deployment of an information system for the monitoring and the prevention of traffic accidents. This system will be part of a technical assistance and training program for the benefit of the National Road Agency. Finally, a series of road safety campaigns will be carried out targeting road users. These different elements are expected to dramatically reduce the number of fatal accidents recorded in the zone each year.
The project is estimated to cost US $280.26 million, and is co-financed by the Bank Group (81.4%), EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (4%), and the Government of Kenya (14.6%). The project is consistent with the Medium Term Plan (MTP 2013-2017) of Kenya’s development strategy as well as the country’s Integrated National Transport Policy. The project is also aligned to the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy (TYS) and supports the institution’s “High 5” development priorities (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life of the African people) by focusing on enhancing regional integration, feeding Africa through improved infrastructure connectivity to facilitate inter-regional food transfers from surplus regions to food deficit areas, and improving the standard of living for the majority rural poor.