The construction of the US $259m dual carriageway, Kapchorwa-Kitale-Saum road connecting Kenya and Uganda has been launched.
Speaking during the flagging off of the road in Kapchorwa, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said the road will enhance connectivity, stimulate activity and ease movement of people, goods and services.
“The road will increase trade, investment and make sure that prosperity is shared by both countries,” said the Deputy President.
Kenya will contribute US $147.3 m financed by the African Development Bank and African Development Fund to facilitate construction of the 77 km of the project on its side of the border. Uganda, on the other hand, will contribute US $105.76 million and will be financed by the African Development Bank (ADB) and African Development Fund (ADF) as a debt. This will facilitate construction of the remaining 73 km that runs on its side. The 150 km road is expected to be complete in 2021.
The road has over the years been affected by heavy rainfall resulting to periodic maintenance. It is also located in a mountainous terrain that has made it difficult for farmers to get their produce to the market. Kenya mostly exports manufactured goods, fertilizer and edible oils to Uganda, while Uganda on the other hand exports electricity and food such as cereals and bananas.
Eliminating trade barriers and support integration
The new upgrade from gravel to bitumen is expected to drastically cut travel time in Uganda (Kapchorwa-Suam) from four hours to one and a half hour; while on the Kenyan side, travel time from Suam to Kitale will be cut from one and a half hours to 45 minutes.
In addition to easing movement of goods and services, the project will seek to eliminate trade barriers and support integration within the East African Community (EAC) and the Great Lakes Region.
Upon completion the dual carriageway is expected to scale up cross-border trade between the two countries and will be a boon for farmers who want to sell their produce on either side of the border.