Opinion and Analysis
Hasten upgrade of Nairobi transport system
Plans to upgrade the transport system around Nairobi are highly welcome and work on the project should commence immediately.
Transport has a direct impact on the cost of living and any actions that bring efficiency in the movement goods and people go a long way in boosting the overall performance of the national economy.
Most developing economies such as Nigeria and Mexico took to massive modernisation and expansion of their transport systems as they transitioned into middle-income economies and we need to emulate them. Unfortunately for us, the transport system in Nairobi is presently in shambles and residents as well as visitors know too well the inconveniences and economic losses caused by traffic chaos within the city.
An estimated Sh50 million is lost to traffic gridlocks in Nairobi each day and this could worsen in the period ahead if urgent steps are not taken to find a solution to the mess that is largely blamed on an insufficient rail and road network to connect the ever expanding suburbs.
Luckily the government already has an impressive blueprint for the planned Nairobi Urban Transport Improvement Project that is targeted at revamping transport both within and around the city through the construction of rapid bus and rail systems. Such an upgrade would see the volume and speed of passenger and freight services increased considerably.
The plan is noble and must be supported in totality by ensuring its speedy implementation. Several leading financiers and development partners such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have already appreciated the potential impact of the project and are stated their committed to finance its implementation.
The newly-built Nairobi-Thika super highway provides an example of how an efficient road system could change the lives of users as well as the fortunes of businesses along such corridors. From a history of economic losses and frustrations caused by heavy traffic gridlocks, the expansion of the highway into multiple lanes has brought new life to commuters and entrepreneurs with businesses along the route.
Users of this road now enjoy cheaper transport and the convenience of minimal travel time. Businesses have in the parts witnessed reduced overhead costs while the flow of clients has also improved.
We need to replicate this success in Nairobi and other parts of the country if we have to achieve any meaningful growth of our economy. All we require is commitment and sacrifice to implement such infrastructure projects.