KeNHA and the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) have signed an agreement for the implementation of the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project (HoAGDP).
The project, dubbed Isiolo-Mandera regional road corridor, is set to facilitate trade and transport for the Northern and North Eastern region, covering Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera and Garissa once complete.
The signing of the implementation agreement comes as good news to the economy of these counties that, for a long period of time, have been dominated by migratory pastoralism, chronic food insecurity, degraded ecosystems, and climate change impacts, especially severe flooding.
In September last year, Kenya received US$750 million from the World Bank to finance phase one of the HoAGDP that seek to upgrade 365 kilometers of the 740-kilometers Isiolo-Mandera Regional Road Corridor.
The project will also see the laying of a fiber optic cable along the entire 740-kilometer corridor which is expected to facilitate more trade in the region.
According to Josphat Sasia, Lead Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader, the potential of Northeastern Kenya as a transit and regional trade facilitation zone is presently not fully exploited.
“This transformative project will integrate the region and enhance security, inclusion, and a sense of equity, which the communities living in this underserved region of Kenya have desired for a long time,” said Sasia.
The upgraded road, the fiber optic connections, and the provision of basic social services is expected to attract investments, facilitate regional and domestic trade, create jobs, and improve information sharing and access to internet-based opportunities.
Speaking in Nairobi last year, Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa said the project will fill a major gap in the connectivity of the region in terms of infrastructure and trade, and also by strengthening regional institutions to promote knowledge sharing and build human capital.
The signing ceremony was attended by FCDC CEO Muhammed Guleid and DG, KeNHA Engineer Peter Mundinia among other development partners officials.