The republic of Kenya has secured approximately US$ 750M financing in form of a loan from the World Bank to facilitate the implementation of the first phase of the Horn of Africa Initiative Project which seeks to boost regional integration and national development.
The project will see the upgrade of 365 kilometers of the 740-km Isiolo-Mandera road as well as 30 kilometers of spur roads in addition to laying a fiber optic cable along the 740-km corridor in the North-Eastern region of the East African country. It will also help provide basic socio-economic infrastructures such as border management systems and border posts for communities living along the corridor.
The loan is tapped from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) portal whose lending terms range from partly grants to zero-interest loans with broad redemption periods. This aligns with the National Treasury change of stance which has seen it concentrate on concessional loans over external commercial debt arrangements in a bid to lessen the debt burden in the country.
The objective of the projects
According to Kenya’s World Bank Country Director Keith Hansen, the projects are mainly aimed at improving the movement of people and goods, digital connectivity, and access to social services for over 3.2 million people living in the North-Eastern region.
“Promoting equal opportunities across the country and linkages in the sub-region,” he says, “will, in turn, attract investments, facilitate regional and domestic trade, create jobs and eventually strengthen Kenya’s transformation from a low middle income to a middle-income country by 2030”.
In addition, Josphat Sasia, the Lead Transport Specialist, and Task Team Leader said that the projects will enhance security, inclusion, and a sense of equity, which the communities living in this underserved region of Kenya have desired for a long time.