Kenya’s quest for a road to boost trade with Ethiopia received a major boost after the African Development Bank picked a consultant to assess environmental impact and design the Lamu-Garissa highway.
AfDB settled on Gujarat-based Sai Consulting out of the six contractors which submitted bids for the tender. Technical evaluation was concluded early last year.
The Indian firm has 15 months to complete work. The road will link the main Addis Ababa-Nairobi-Mombasa corridor to Kenya’s proposed second seaport at Lamu.
It is part of the envisaged Cape Town to Cairo trans-Africa highway. It will also open up remote regions of Kenya’s north which have been isolated from the rest of the country, as well as encourage regional trade.
No good road connects the countries. The new road will enter Ethiopia at Moyale.
AfDB said that Sai Consulting will build on studies already done on the first and second phases of the highway.
“The consultancy services involve review of feasibility study and preliminary design, detailed engineering and EIA (environmental impact assessment),” the AfDB says in a statement published on its website.
Previous studies found that Kenya will spend Sh134.3 million ($1,543,108) to finance human resettlement, relocation of power and telecommunication lines, environmental mitigation, road safety campaign and an HIV/Aids programme.
Sai Consulting, which quoted $2,165,815 (Sh188.5 million) for EIA and Sh1 million for detailed design of the road, scored 70.58 points at the technical evaluation stage.
Construction and rehabilitation of roads is part of efforts by the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya to improve trade and economic integration.
Apart from consultancy, which is financed by AfDB, China signed deals with both countries to finance most of the construction work.
Consultancy work on the roads comes just weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed agreements with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to open up the 80 million people-markets for trade.
It also comes as South Sudan, another state on the corridor, has made clear its intention to integrate its economy with East African states and invest in joint infrastructure deals with Kenya Uganda and Rwanda.