African Development Bank approves US$253 million loan for Kapchorwa-Kitale road
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the approval of US$253 million in loans to the Governments of Kenya and Uganda for the upgrading of the 118km Kachorwa-Kitale road- hitherto one of the smaller and poorly maintained connecting roads between the two countries. The two main entry links between Uganda and Kenya is in Malaba and Busia.
The AfDB said of the US$253m, US$147.3m will be loaned to Kenya, while US$105.7 to Uganda.
The Bank said in a statement that the upgrading of the (road) will provide an all-weather access for citizens, farmers and traders. The project also includes a construction of a One Stop Border Post in Suam to facilitate trade between the two countries, travelers and transport operators.
It is expected that the upgrading of the road will reduce the travel time in Uganda (Kapchorwa-Suam) from the current 4hours to 1.5, and in Kenya (Suam-Kitale) from 1.5hours to 45 minutes.
The Kapchorwa-Kitale area on the either slopes of the volcanic Mt. Elgon is one of the most fertile areas in East Africa which also receive one of the highest amounts of rainfall and low temperatures making it one of the region’s high agricultural production zones.
“The upgrading of the road from gravel to bitumen standard will facilitate the supply of farm inputs and evacuation of produce to major market centers,” the AfDB said.
Works will include construction of the 32 km Eldoret bypass that will reduce traffic congestion in Eldoret Town, by avoiding crossing of the city center. On the Ugandan side, the works will include construction of the Suam one stop border post.
The project once completed in 2021 is expected to change the lives of 1.4 million people who live in the areas through improved accessibility to traders and transporters using the border and people living in the project area with reductions in travel time, transport cost, increased mobility, and improved accessibility to economic and social facilities, and provision of market facilities, support to communities through access road and water supply.
Amadou Oumarou, Director of the Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development Department of the Bank, said; “The proposed intervention is also in line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy and meets four of the High Fives by contributing to the integration of the EAC countries; improving the quality of life by providing socio-economic facilities to people in the zone of influence; increasing agricultural production through access to markets and the reduction transport cost, which lowers the cost of doing business that will play pivotal role in industrialization.” pointed out.
The project design paid particular attention to road safety and health issues. The new design of the roads will minimize accident risks by speed calming measures and appropriate and clear signage. The project has Road Safety awareness campaign to the communities. The project also includes the refurbishment of post-crash care center and the procurement of ambulance and theatre equipment.
The AfDB loans will cover 89 per cent and 88 per cent of the Uganda and Kenya project costs respectively. The Government of Uganda and Kenya contribution will be 11per cent and 12per cent of their respective country project cost.