Saudi Arabia loans Kenya sh1.6b for road construction

By Athman Amran

The Saudi Government has approved an over Sh1.6 billion loan to Kenya for the construction of the 146km Nuno-Modagashe road that will run between Garissa and Mandera towns.

Saudi Ambassador to Kenya Ghorm Said Malhan said the Saudi government is also set to give Kenya another Sh1.2 billion to fund five power projects. Adding that the money would be sourced from the Saudi Fund for Development.

The ambassador was speaking during the marking of the 80th anniversary of the Unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday evening.

The total construction of the Nuno-Modagashe road is estimated at Sh8 billion with a total of Sh5.36 billion to be procured from loans from the Saudi Fund, the Kuwait Fund, the OPEC fund and the Abu-Dhabi Fund.

The first phase of the project was expected to begin in Garissa last year.

Malhan said most of Saudi assistance to Kenya is directed towards development of infrastructure, water, irrigation and agriculture. He said the power projects will be done in five different locations in the country.

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"Delegations from the Saudi Fund for Development visited Nairobi twice this year to upraise rural projects in Kenya," Malhan said.

The ambassador also said that the Saudi Government contributed 200 tonnes of assorted food and another 200 tonnes of dates to assist Kenyans affected by famine.

Defence minister Yusuf Haji said Kenya will continue to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, which he said is host to over 20,000 Kenyan workers, including both professionals and domestic workers among others.

"The Kenyan workers in Saudi Arabia remit about Sh1 billion annually to Kenya," Haji said.

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Saudi Arabia loan Garissa Mandera