KENYA – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved KSh23 billion (US$229m) loan to fund the expansion of a Great North Road, a highway that links major economic hubs in Kenya.

The five-year project conveniently links major economic hubs in the country and will convert the 84km Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road in Central and Eastern Kenya from a two-way single carriageway to a dual bypass.

The new road will ease transport between Nairobi and the Mount Kenya region and ultimately to Ethiopia with the biggest beneficiaries being producers, manufacturers and traders, who will save time and money, thanks to improved access on the main corridor to the north.

The current Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road is situated along the “Great North Road”, which forms part of the 800km stretch between Nairobi and Moyale and runs across the five counties of Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Machakos, Embu and Nyeri.

The Government will finance 19 per cent of the total cost of the project, while the remaining 81 per cent will be financed by AfDB. It is estimated that about 1.15 million people will benefit from the upgraded highway. The beneficiaries include producers, manufacturers and traders, who will save time and money, thanks to improved access on the main corridor to the north.

“Building a 21st-century road must also take into account climate change, which often leads to road runoff, flooding and erosion. To counter these phenomena, trees will be planted in the surrounding area,” AfDB said in a statement yesterday.

Kenol–Sagana–Marua Road is also part of the Trans-Africa Highway, commonly known as the Cape to Cairo route.

The project is part of broader government efforts to improve the country’s infrastructure, including the construction of 1,304 km of new roads in recent years. The Bank’s present portfolio in Kenya consists of 38 operations, totaling around US$3.3 billion.

The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).

On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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