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Inside Kenya’s Sh138b transport upgrade

By Fredrick Obura | June 10th 2021

Ongoing construction works on JKIA-Westlands Expressway on Waiyaki Way.[Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

The momentum that has characterised infrastructure development across the country is expected to continue in the next financial year as the budget is read today.

According to the 2021 Budget Estimates, the Government has allocated over Sh138 billion collectively to the State department of infrastructure, State department of transport, and the State department of shipping and maritime for projects cutting across road, rail, water, and air transport.

The Government has allocated the State Department of Infrastructure Sh135,370,687,987, State Department of Transport Sh1,346,300,000, and another Sh750,200,000 to the State Department of Shipping and Maritime.

Malindi, Isiolo, Wajir, and Lanet are among the airports set for expansion in this year’s budget, others include airstrips such as Kabunde, Kakamega, Kitale, Migori and Angama.

To ensure every Kenyan enjoys the benefits of an expanded road network, the Government has been scaling up the construction of modern highways as well as urban and rural roads in every part of the country.

During the Financial Year 2019/20, the Government constructed 1,489 Km of new roads and rehabilitated 35 Km of roads. Additionally, over the same period, the Government constructed 15 bridges. Among other major projects that the Government is undertaking is the construction of the Dongo Kundu Southern Bypass, which once complete will connect Mombasa and Kwale Counties.

Going forward, during the Financial Year 2021/22 to Financial Year 2023/24 period, the Government has committed to construct 6,381 Km of roads through the implementation of various programmes.


Air transport is one of the sectors that was adversely hit by the containment measures put in place to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Despite this, the Government says it is committed to making Kenya a strategic transport hub in support of the ‘Big Four Agenda. 

The Government says it is committed to repairing, expanding, and modernizing aviation facilities to maintain a competitive edge in the region. Additionally, the Government is developing strategies to improve the operational efficiency of Kenya Airways to ensure it remains afloat. This will enhance regional integration and promote tourism and international trade which are key in supporting the manufacturing pillar of the “Big Four” Agenda.


The Government has continued to undertake massive investments in various ports and harbours in the country. Through massive investment in Kilindini harbour, the volume of cargo passing through the port has more than doubled. The investment has created more than 8,000 indirect jobs. In addition, the Lamu Port Berth-One is complete and is expected to begin full operation as a trans-shipment hub for shipping lines and create job opportunities for Kenyans.

The Government is also in the final stages of installing the Likoni Floating Bridge, the first automated floating bridge in Kenya, which will help to decongest ferry transport at the Likoni Channel in the context of Covid-19 safety concerns and beyond by providing alternative safe pedestrian connectivity between Liwatoni on Mombasa Island to Ras Bofu on the Likoni mainland side. 153.

 Standard Gauge Railway Line

The construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has improved passenger and cargo transport activities with most businesses currently transporting their cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi and Naivasha via the SGR reducing congestion in the roads. 

As at August 2020, Madaraka Express had ferried about 9.9 million cargo tonnage and 4.3 million passengers. 

Meter Gauge Railway

The Government is rehabilitating the old meter-gauge railway to improve interconnectivity and transport across the country. The recently launched Diesel Multiple Units and modernization of the Central Railway Station will ease road traffic congestion and dramatically change the public transport in Nairobi and across the Metropolitan Area.

Commenting on the 2021 Budget Estimates, Viffa Consult said the sector is considered a key enabler for the country’s economic growth and development agenda and has routinely received substantial funding over the past decade.

“In the state department of infrastructure, it is estimated that there are pending bills valued at Sh85 billion as well as 88 stalled projects,” said Viffa

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