TAVETA — President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart President Jakaya Kikwete today launched the Taveta-Mwatate road project.
The road link which is key to regional integration is jointly funded by the African Development Bank and the Governments of Kenya and Tanzania.
Presidents Kenyatta and Kikwete said the construction of 90km Mwatate-Taveta road is in the East African Community programme of the developing missing links along the regional infrastructure corridor.
“This is one of the missing links aimed at enhancing the East Africa Integration objectives, and a crucial link between Kenya and Tanzania,” said President Kenyatta.
The two leaders noted that Arusha-Holili-Taveta-Voi Road Project links the Northern Corridor at Voi. The Arusha-Holili section is being upgraded.
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President Kenyatta expressed gratitude with the progress being made on the construction of this section between Mwatate and Taveta.
African Development Bank Regional Director Gabriel Negatu said the institution has given $218 million (Sh22 billion) for the construction of the Taveta-Mwatate Road and the upgrading of the Arusha-Holili section. Kenya received $116 million (Sh12.1 billion), and Tanzania $102 million (Sh10 billion).
They pointed out that the project is of significant importance to the two countries because poor road infrastructure connectivity has been identified as a deterrent to the development objectivities within the East African Region.
The two leaders said the road project is the second to be funded by ADB, the first one being the improvement of Arusha-Namanga/Namanga-Athi River road.
The Tanzanian President said the road is part of EAC projects and also the Arusha-Holili-Taveta-Voi-Mombasa transport corridor.
On the EAC, President Kikwete said members States had planned major infrastructure projects to connect countries and the whole region.
“In the past five years, trade between Kenya and Tanzania has grown by 40 per cent. When the road is complete, trade will go up by another 10 per cent,” he said.
The President pointed out that EAC member states and the region will benefit more with a larger market than their individual ones. He added that the region has 200 million people, a big market for goods and services.
Other speakers included the Cabinet Secretary for Mining Najib Balala, Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu, Senator Dan Mwazo and local MP Naomi Shaban