AfDB Group approves loans of US$229mn for expansion of ‘Great North Road’

11670320324 75f71b7fea cThe Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved loans of around US$229mn to fund the expansion of a highway that links major economic hubs in Kenya

The approval was granted at a meeting held at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on 26 September.

The total project cost is US$282mn, of which US$195mn (69 per cent) will be financed by the Group, while 12 per cent will come from the Africa Growing Together Fund set up by the bank and the People’s Bank of China in 2014. The remaining 19 per cent will be financed by the Kenyan government.

The five-year project will convert the 84km Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road in central and eastern Kenya from a two-way single carriageway into a dual bypass and is due for completion in 2025. The new road will enhance traffic flow between the port city of Mombasa and major centres like Nairobi. It will also ease transport between Nairobi and the Mount Kenya region; and ultimately Ethiopia.

The current Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road is situated along the “Great North Road”, which forms part of the 800km stretch between Nairobi and Moyale and runs across the five counties of Muranga, Kirinyaga, Machakos, Embu and Nyeri.

Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road is also part of the Trans-Africa Highway, commonly known as the Cape to Cairo route.

According to a project report, about 1.15mn people will benefit from the upgraded highway. 44 per cent of the beneficiaries are expected to be women. The beneficiaries include producers, manufacturers and traders, who will save time and money, thanks to improved access on the main corridor to the north.

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