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Ruto lands Sh477 billion deal for new Usahihi Expressway with 6 lanes

President Ruto is actively seeking to attract more private investment to Kenya during his visit to the U.S.

President William Ruto addressing business executives in Atlanta U.S.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has finalized a Sh477 billion ($3.6) billion agreement with Everstrong Capital LLC to construct a new expressway linking Nairobi and Mombasa.

This deal was signed during President William Ruto's state visit to the United States.

The expressway, named Usahihi—which translates to "correctly" in Swahili—will cover 440 kilometers and feature four to six lanes.

The route will pass through a vast wildlife reserve, creating an essential connection between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa.

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This road serves as a vital gateway for many East African economies.

The new road will complement the existing two-lane public road and the SGR financed by China Exim Bank.

This marks the first state visit by an African leader to the US in 16 years, highlighting the US's effort to strengthen its ties with Africa amid growing influence from China and Russia.

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An official statement emphasised, "The construction of the Usahihi Expressway poses no financial risks to the Kenyan government, as it is structured to operate independently from the government of Kenya’s balance sheet and is projected to be financing self-sustaining."

This new project follows an earlier agreement with Bechtel Corp. in 2017, where the San Francisco-based company withdrew from a $3.5 billion project.

The company chose not to build and operate the highway but to act solely as a contractor.

Similarly, Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corp. conducted feasibility studies for a highway that was estimated to cost around $1.5 billion.

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In addition to the expressway deal, other significant investments were announced during President Ruto’s US tour.

Microsoft Corp. and G42, a leading artificial intelligence firm from the United Arab Emirates, plan to invest $1 billion in a new data center in Kenya.

Coca-Cola Co. also announced a $175 million investment in its local operations.

The US International Development Finance Corp., which provides loans to private firms rather than governments, is expected to unveil several hundred million dollars in new investments in Kenya, increasing its total investment portfolio in the country to over $1 billion.

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Furthermore, President Ruto is advocating for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade program that grants duty-free access to the US market for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.

The current AGOA program is set to expire in 2025.

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