North-Western corridor receives Sh65b boost

World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye

The Government and World Bank will spend Sh65.572 billion ($676 million) to finance development of the transport and trade corridor in North-Western Kenya.

The project expected to improve the livelihoods of the communities in Turkana and West Pokot counties respectively was approved this week by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors.

WB will contribute Sh48.5 billion ($500 million) while the balance will be contributed by the Kenyan Government.

The bank’s directors said the International Development Association credit for the East Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project, will enhance regional competitiveness by improving the movement of goods and people in Eastern Africa.

It will support upgrading of the road linking Kenya to its neighbours in the north-western border and also enhance internet connectivity between the countries and the rest of world.

The project will cost an estimated $676 million. “Kenya has a long established transport and trade link to the north-west but the poor state of the road constrains growth opportunities along this important corridor,” says World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye.

“Enhancing connectivity to this region will improve the livelihoods of the pastoral communities in the region, enabling their people to share in the prospects for growth, poverty reduction and prosperity.”

Road safety

Gaye said the new project will enable Kenya to upgrade the road, ICT Technologies infrastructure and road safety on the corridor. It will also facilitate establishment of trade and development facilities, including livestock markets to support pastoralist communities and micro enterprise operators.

The project will support farmers, pastoralists and small business entrepreneurs along the corridor and help boost exports of agricultural, livestock, fishery and mineral products. It will also facilitate extraction of oil resources and help reduce the vulnerabilities of the local communities in Turkana and West Pokot counties who exhibit high levels of poverty.

This will be done by integrating them to the national economy. “A better road will contribute greatly to the development of north-western Kenya and improve the connectivity of the region to regional and global markets,” said co-Task Team Leaders of the Project Tesfamichael Nahusenay Mitiku and Josphat Sasia.

“It will also facilitate the flow of goods and movement of people by reducing transport costs and travel time from Mombasa to Juba, which now takes between five to eight days.”

The upgrading of the 309km road section from Lokichar to Nadapal/Nakodok will reduce the cost of doing business and enhance regional integration.