Kenya has received a Ksh. 81.2 Billon ($750 million) loan from the World Bank to finance infrastructure projects in Northern Kenya.
The new facility is the first under the multi-lateral lender Horn of Africa Initiative Project which seeks to boost regional integration and national development.
Proceeds from the financing are expected to upgrade 365 kilometres of the 740 kilometres Isiolo-Mandera Regional road corridor and 30 kilometres of spur roads.
The facility will further finance the laying of a fibre optic cable along the 740 kilometre corridor.
The project is expected to to improve the basic socio-economic infrastructure for communities living along the corridor.
“Promoting equal opportunities across the country and linkages in the sub region will strengthen Kenya’s transformation from a low middle income to a middle-income country by 2030,” said the newly appointed Wold Bank Country Director for Kenya Keith Hansen.
“The potential of North-eastern Kenya as a transit and regional trade facilitation has not been fully exploited. This transformative project will integrate the region and enhance security, inclusion ad a sense of equity which the communities living in this underserved region of Kenya have desired for a long time,” added Josephat Sasla, a lead transport specialist.
The new loan facility has been tapped from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) portal whose lending terms range from partly grants to zero-interest loans with broad redemption periods.
The move aligns with the National Treasury change of stance which has seen it concentrate on concessional loans over external commercial debt arrangements such as Eurobonds.
The shift in direction seeks to lessen the debt burden in the country by lowering debt servicing costs and stretching repayment periods.
Total public debt at the end of June stood at Ksh.6.7 trillion or an equivalent 69.1 percent of GDP.