What you need to know:
- The project entails the upgrading of 395 kilometres of road from Isiolo to Mandera.
- Upgrading of the remaining 355 kilometres will be financed by other development partners, according to the World Bank.
Leaders from northern Kenya counties have expressed their appreciation to the national government and the World Bank for approving Sh81 billion for the Isiolo-Mandera road corridor.
In a statement, Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) Chairman and Mandera Governor Ali Roba described the approval of the loan as the biggest legacy project of President Kenyatta’s government for North Eastern.
FCDC bloc brings together Mandera, Isiolo, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa and Tana River counties. Other members are Turkana, Lamu West and Samburu.
“On behalf of the people and the leadership of northern Kenya and particularly the FCDC, we are extremely excited at the news of the successful negotiation by the government with the World Bank for a credit facility of Sh81 billion to finance the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project,” Mr Roba said.
The project entails the upgrading of 395 kilometres of road from Isiolo to Mandera.
Last week on Wednesday, the World Bank approved a Sh81 billion loan to upgrade half of the 750-kilometre Isiolo-Mandera road and lay a fibre-optic cable along the transport corridor.
Upgrading of the remaining 355 kilometres will be financed by other development partners, according to the World Bank.
The lender said it projects the International Development Association financing will improve the movement of people and goods, digital connectivity and access to social services for the region’s 3.2 million people plus.
“We express our immense gratitude to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta under whose direct leadership and negotiation this approval has been realised,” Mr Roba said.
The project, he added, will mark the beginning of an end to the region’s marginalisation and exclusion story.
“The people of northern Kenya will remain [infinitely] indebted to the President for this life-changing infrastructure investment that is arguably the most transformative legacy project,” Governor Roba said.
“The project will touch many lives and present many income-generating opportunities. It will also open trading opportunities,” he said.
Mr Roba also thanked the World Bank for approving the loan, which is billed as the single largest credit facility to be approved in the bank’s history for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The project will improve living standards and reduce widespread poverty in these counties,” he said.