The government is in an ambitious plan to build over 6,000 kilometres of new roads in the coming three years.
These will include highways connecting Kenya to the region as well as local roads offering improved access across the country.
According to the draft Budget Policy Statement (BPS), the government will increasingly tap into public-private partnerships as well as continued investments of its own funds to fund infrastructure projects.
In the 2021-22 financial year, Treasury has proposed an allocation of Sh200 billion to the State Department of Infrastructure, which is charged with the development of roads, railways and other infrastructure.
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Among the major roads that are earmarked for construction this year is part of the Isiolo-Mandera Road, which is part of the World Bank-funded Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project.
The government also plans to construct 128km of roads under the South Sudan Eastern Africa Regional Trade and Transport Development Facilitation Project. In the course of the 2021-22 financial year, the government also expects to complete the 649km Mau Mau Road and the 84km Kenol-Sagana-Marua Road.
“The government has put in place deliberate efforts to scale up a robust network of high-quality roads, railways, sea and airports to enable Kenyans enjoy the benefits of expanded infrastructure assets, interconnectivity and competitiveness, leading to improvement and better ranking in the ease of doing business in the country,” said Treasury in the draft BPS published yesterday.
“In order to ensure every Kenyan enjoys the benefits of an expanded road network, the government has been scaling up the construction of modern highways, urban and rural roads in every part of the country.”
Treasury at the same time said under the Economic Stimulus Programme, the government will spend Sh5 billion in rehabilitating damaged access roads and footbridges in all major towns.
The Ministry of Transport has recently selected China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to construct the Nairobi Expressway at a cost of Sh60 billion.
Vinci Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, and Vinci Concessions SAS will, on the other hand, construct the Nairobi-Mau Summit Road for Sh168 billion.
Treasury noted that the two roads “will have a significant positive impact on the economy by decongesting Nairobi’s gateways and opening up the economies of and increasing connectivity in Western, Rift Valley and Central Kenya respectively. Other infrastructure projects that are earmarked for completion in the 2021/22 financial year include the refurbishing of the Naivasha-Kisumu metre gauge railway.
This will add to the Nairobi-Nanyuki railway, which was recently rehabilitated.
Rehabilitating the railway to Kisumu will give cargo owners who prefer moving goods on rail connectivity with the Standard Gauge Railway, which currently terminates at Mai Mahiu.