Ethiopia, Kenya sign $743 million road corridor project

(HornTrade) – Ethiopia and Kenya have signed a $743 million deal to construct a road network connecting the two neighboring countries.

The Addis Ababa-Nairobi-Mombasa road project, which is an important part of the Trans-African Highway corridor will further interconnect the two east African countries with the rest of eastern and southern Africa.

The road project covers over 880 kilometers and is expected to be completed in three years. It will be financed by a loan grant secured from the African Development Bank.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport, Diriba Kuma and his Kenyan counterpart, Amos Kimunya signed the agreement on Monday 7 November in Addis Ababa,Sudan Tribune has learnt.

During the signing ceremony, Kuma said the present agreement indicates the commitment of the two governments to realise regional integration.

“The need to achieve regional economic integration through strengthening our individual economies in various forms of cooperation is critical to address global economic challenges facing us today,” said the Ethiopian minister.

“The agreement would further cement our multifaceted, historical and cultural bonds of friendship and cooperation,” he further said.

Kenyan minister of transport, Amos Kimunya, said the deal was a milestone in the Ethiopia-Kenyan mutual efforts to develop links between the two countries.

“The completion of the road network will enable our countries to realise the huge potential in our relations, particularly in boosting people-to-people interactions and cross border trade,” Kimunya said.

He further underscored that, “This road link is also critical to the fulfillment of the regional integration agenda of the Eastern Africa region, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and beyond.”

Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 when its former province, Eritrea, won independence, meaning that it lost the Red Sea ports of Assab and Massawa which were the main sea gateways serving the Horn of Africa country.

In 1998, Ethiopia and Eritrea engaged in a two year bloody border war that further limited Ethiopia to depend only on the Red Sea port of Djibouti, costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars more annually, in port fees.

Now Ethiopia is seeking other alternatives such as road links with neighboring countries of Kenya and Sudan to avert dependency to on a single port and to ease the burden of port fees to Djibouti.

The Ethiopian Road Authority said that the country could import goods using Mombassa and Port Sudan at a cheaper rate than Djibouti.

When the joint road project is completed, Ethiopia and Kenya will have less transport and shipping costs and shorter transit times for imported and exported goods.

The project will also enhance transport and communication infrastructure among the East African countries.

Source: sudantribune.com

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