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How Ruto's ambitious Sh1.3 trillion plan can avoid the curse of govt projects

There is growing concern about the pitfalls that often plague government projects, such as budget overruns and delays.

President William Ruto during the commissioning of the Sh27 Billion Mavoko Water Supply Project in Machakos County on April 14, 2023

President William Ruto's ambitious infrastructure plan worth Sh1.3 trillion (approximately USD 11.6 billion) is aimed at enhancing road infrastructure and driving economic development.

Speaking during the African Private Sector Dialogue on the AfCFTA in Nairobi on Monday, May 24, President Ruto said that Africa presents an attractive and expansive market for investors seeking new business opportunities.

However, he noted that the lack of efficient transport systems continues to impede investments.

This has made it costly to do business, thereby reducing the continent’s competitiveness,” he said.

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With the implementation of President Ruto's economic transformation agenda underway, there is growing concern about pitfalls that often plague government projects such as budget overruns and delays.

By addressing these challenges head-on, Ruto could play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the ambitious plan.

With the allocation of Sh1.3 trillion to road projects in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, President Ruto's infrastructure plan aligns with the objectives of AfCFTA.

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This significant investment aims to enhance road infrastructure and promote economic development in Kenya, addressing the need for improved transportation systems and supporting sustainable growth.

To ensure the success of Ruto's infrastructure plan and avoid the pitfalls of budget overruns and time delays, there is a pressing need for competent project management.

According to Project Management Institute (PMI) Managing Director of Sub-Saharan Africa George Asamani, there is a pressing need for competent and qualified project managers to deliver projects to a high standard, as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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"It is abundantly clear that AfCFTA is the cart, and infrastructure will be the horse that pulls it forward. Megaprojects will be crucial to the future of AfCFTA, but the problem is that these projects often go off the rails, either regarding budget or time—or both.

"For AfCFTA to succeed, Africa must engineer a skilling revolution. Never have the stakes been so high to ensure the timely execution of projects," he said.

AfCFTA, the world's largest free trade area agreement, has the potential to revolutionize trade and economic integration within Africa.

Once fully implemented, it is expected to create a trade zone encompassing 55 member states, with a combined gross domestic product of approximately $3.4 trillion USD (Sh470 trillion).

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AfCFTA aims to eliminate trade barriers, harmonize trade rules, and foster synergies among African nations, with the goal of boosting intra-African trade.

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