AfDB to decide fate of Sh17.5bn loan for Nakuru-Nairobi road


African Development Bank headquarters. PHOTO | COURTESY

The board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) will meet next week to decide on plans to fund the construction of the Sh180 billion upgrade of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The AfDB executive arm said earlier it intends to lend Sh17.5 billion towards the construction of the highway, making it one of the ten financiers lining up to fund the project.

A consortium led by French infrastructural firm Vinci secured a 30-year concession contract in 2019 to build and operate the Nairobi-Nakuru highway that is being built under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“The (AfDB) board date is next week Wednesday,” AfDB director-general for East Africa Nnenna Nwabufo told the Business Daily in an interview on Tuesday.

“We will issue a press statement once it is approved.”

The funding which will come as a boost for the project implementers represents about 10 percent of the Sh180 billion required for the upgrade of the project.

The loan will be given to a consortium led by French infrastructure firm Vinci, which secured a 30-year concession contract in 2019 to build and operate the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The remaining cost of the project under the public-private partnership (PPP) model will be financed by the other 10 development financiers and institutions.

The signing of contracts and subsequent funding will pave the way for the start of the 233-km road project, which will see the highway expanded to a four-lane dual carriageway, raising hope of reducing traffic congestion on the Northern Corridor.

The International Finance Corporation also joined the scramble to fund the Sh180 billion Nairobi-Mau Summit Highway, giving the French contractor a major boost in raising funds for the road.

“We are working with the project promoters and 10 other development financiers,” Ms Nwabufo said earlier.

The Kenya National Highways Authority picked the Rift Valley Connect consortium, comprising Vinci Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund and Vinci Concessions SAS as the preferred bidder for the project.

The French consortium is expected to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the expressway.

The project will also involve widening the existing Rironi- Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to becoming a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides, construction of a four-kilometre elevated highway through Nakuru town, and building and improvement of interchanges along the highway.

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