AFRICANGLOBE – A 960km stretch of road connecting South Sudan and neighbouring Kenya to help boost economic ties between the two countries is expected to cost an estimated $1.3 billion according to World Bank officials.
The governments of Kenya and South Sudan have kicked off consultative talks with various international lenders to fund the Sh90 billion Juba-Eldoret development Corridor.
Kenya’s Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua said the World Bank and African Development Bank have already shown interest of funding the project and are currently helping the two governments get more financiers as well as ensure all the resources are in place before the actual construction begins.
“Even when we say donor funding, it means that we are sourcing external resources that we will later pay. In short it’s a loan that we are committing our governments that will later be paid by the taxes we collect,” Kinyua said on Tuesday during their first meeting held at a Nairobi hotel.
Kenya’s Roads Minister Frankline Bett said the study and design work on the Kenyan side has already started and is expected to be completed by May this year.
The Juba-Eldoret corridor is part of the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project (LAPSET) but will be managed separately.
“The LAPSET project coming out of Lamu in the coastal region will connect to this road. That means it will give people alternative routes. So the connectivity is being improved by the way of LAPSET and this road, “Bett said.
“We intend to package the project into 10 lots of sections measuring between 80 to 140 kilometers. Already, we are carrying out designs, made possible through the financial assistance by the World Bank,”Bett added.
The section to be undertaken by the government of Kenya is classified as road A1 which starts from the northern boarder of Tanzania at Isebania through Mukuyu, Kisumu, Kakamega, Kitale, Lodwar, Lokichogio to Nadapal.
The government of South Sudan will then start from Nadapal all the way to Juba.
Once the road is completed, it will serve the capital of South Sudan, Juba, and the Eastern part of South Sudan, the location of the main oil exploration.
“The government of South Sudan has allocated over Sh263 million in the next ten years on roads construction alone. That is out of the Sh614 million we have set aside for infrastructure in our country,” South Sudan’s Roads and Bridges Minister Gier Aluong said.
The construction of the Juba-Eldoret corridor is expected to start in early 2014 and end in 2023.