Shipping & Logistics

Uganda roads set to reduce freight costs for Kenyan traders

New roads increase access. FILE PHOTO | NMG
New roads increase access. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Uganda is launching a new round of road building that is set to reduce freight costs and add market reach in the next three years.

In a bid to stimulate economic growth that over the last two decades has averaged an annual 2.6 per cent, the Ugandan government has embarked on an intensified round of road infrastructure projects.

It is now close to completing the 49.5km Entebbe-Kampala expressway, which will link the capital city to Entebbe International Airport, and is set to be open in May this year.

Last month, it won $84.5m of loan funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the stretch of Uganda-Kenya highway, from Kapchorwa to the border post of Suam, and on to the upcoming Kitale and Eldoret Town bypasses.

The highway is expected to be completed in 2021, and will provide a new and faster link between Uganda and Kenya connecting through the one-stop border post of Suam.
Kenya received $129.6m of AfDB loan funding for the road in April last year.

The construction of the road will see the average speed in the delivery of goods from Kenya to Uganda increase.

The new highway also holds logistics implications ahead, in that it will connect 1.4 million people living around the project area, and reduce traffic congestion in the town of Eldoret on the Northern Corridor.

Providing easier and rapid access through road construction can have multiple positive impacts for the surrounding population, according to research by the United Nations.

“A global investment of $681 billion of safer road upgrades would deliver $5,715 billion of economic benefit. Transport reduces absolute poverty through economic efficiency,” reported the UN.

The Uganda-Kenya project is thus likely to contribute to poverty reduction by providing all weather access for the supply of farm inputs, consumer goods and capital goods, and outward routes for local produce.

“It will improve the level of service and efficiency of the road network and reduce transport costs. It will also support regional integration, economic co-operation and foster transport linkage with Uganda, Kenya, DRC and South Sudan,” reported AfDB.

- African Laughter