The Kenyan government plans to expand the
Nairobi-Mombasa highway from the current single lane to
six lane modern highway and bids are likely to be
invited soon, an official said on Sunday.
House spokesman Manoah Esipisu told a news conference in
Nairobi that already a U.S. investor has expressed its
interest in the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway which is
expected to ease traffic jams in Nairobi.
"I can confirm U.S. investor interest in this
Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway. Among the partners involved
are Bechtel Corp., the United States’ largest
construction and civil engineering firm, which will be
supported in this endeavor by the United States’
Import-Export Bank and OPIC," he said.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank is simultaneously working
with Bechtel to secure investment for the 485-kilometre
expressway which is intended to speed up commerce and
travel between Kenya’s main port of Mombasa and cities
throughout East Africa.
OPIC’s role in the emerging deal would be to insure
Bechtel against breach of contract.
"We are hopeful that these discussions will bear
fruit, and that Kenya will soon enjoy the new
infrastructure on the Nairobi-Mombasa route," Esipisu
"More importantly, though, this is a show of
continued massive international investor confidence in
our economy and our country," he added.
According to Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet
Secretary James Macharia the government plans to build
the road through a Public Private Partnership.
The 485km Mombasa-Nairobi highway is crucial for
trade in the region since it connects the port to
Nairobi and onward to the hinterland markets, including
landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
More than 90 percent of goods landing at Mombasa
port—one of the largest and busiest ports in Africa—are
transported over the road and over a parallel railway
line, underlining the importance of the road.
Nearly all of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South
Sudan’s imported goods reach their destinations via this
road, making it an important regional economic asset.