The newly constructed Nairobi-Thika superhighway will aid better regional integration in East Africa, President Mwai Kibaki has said at the official opening.
Kibaki noted that the road linked the main commercial centres of Isiolo, Marsabit, Moyale and Mandera to Nairobi and that it constituted an important part of the regional and continental transport corridor from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.
More importantly, he said it would ‘strengthen transport linkages with neighbouring countries in the East African region and enhance tradeopportunities’.
‘Infrastructure development not only promotes trade and helps to create a conducive business environment, but also plays an important role in national unity and integration,’ said Kibaki. ‘As Kenyans interact and do business together, they get to appreciate and value people as well as cultures from different parts of the country.’
Kenya recently completed the rehabilitation of a section of the Athi-River-Namanga-Arusha Road, which runs from Tunduma in Tanzania toMoyale in Kenya.
The country is also rehabilitating and upgrading the road from Kisumu-Kakamega-Webuye-Kitale at over 10 billion shillings. The improvement of these road sections is expected to enhance trade with Uganda.
The upgrading of Nairobi-Thika highway provides a transport corridor linking Kenya with Ethiopia via Moyale in the north and with Tanzaniavia Namanga in the south.
The 50km superhighway covers an area that lies within the Nairobi Metropolitan and Central Province, including large sections of the capital and Thika district.
The construction of the superhighway cost $360 million. The African Development Bank (AfDB) contributed $180million and The EximBank of China contributed $100 million.
Beneficiaries of the highway are predominantly people living along the route engaged in various economic activities. More importantly, itserves commuters who travel daily to work within Nairobi’s Central Busiiness District (CBD).
According to AfDB, the time taken to traverse Thika town and Nairobi has dropped from between two to three hours to just 30-45 minutes.
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