World Bank leaves Kenya high and dry and backs off from funding a key artery of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway worth $130 million

A murram road in Kenya.
  • On Monday, the Kenya National Highway Authority (KenHa) said the World Bank is no longer part of the upgrading of the 26km James Gichuru-Rironi Road expansion project.
  • KenHa say 67% of the project time has lapsed while only a quarter of the work had been completed by August 15.
  • The World Bank — which for the first time in May agreed to offer Kenya budgetary support worth Sh75 billion — said it will respond later.

Kenya will have to dig into its own pockets and fund the construction of a key artery of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway worth Sh13 billion ($130 million) after the World Bank pulled away.

On Monday, the Kenya National Highway Authority (KenHa) said the World Bank is no longer part of the upgrading of the 26km James Gichuru-Rironi Road expansion project.

KenHA explained that World Bank backed out of the funding deal due to expiring of the timeline.

“Every programme that World Bank funds through the National Urban Transport and Improvement project has a timeline, and in this case, the timeline for funding of this road was to end in December 2019,” KenHa director-general Peter Mundinia said on Monday.

“It is the reason why they (World Bank) could not fund the road as timeline had elapsed. Treasury therefore thought it wise to terminate the agreement and fund the road through locally generated resources.”

As a result, construction work is progressing slowly due to the need for additional billions to compensate investors ceding land for the works.

The World Bank — which for the first time in May agreed to offer Kenya budgetary support worth Sh75 billion — said it will respond later.

Under the James Gichuru-Rironi Road project, the World Bank was to offer Kenya 80% of the total upgrade cost of Sh16.3 billion ($163 million) or Sh13 billion ($130 million). Kenya was responsible for the remaining Sh3.3 billion ($33 million) or 20% of the project cost.

KenHa say 67% of the project time has lapsed while only a quarter of the work had been completed by August 15.

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