Kenyatta, Kikwete launch new road to improve connectivity

Kenya President Kenyatta and Tanzania President Kikwete during the launch of the Mwatate-Taveta road
Kenya President Kenyatta and Tanzania President Kikwete during the launch of the Mwatate-Taveta road

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzania counterpart Jakaya Kikwete have heaped praise on the ongoing construction of 90KM Mwatate-Taveta road.

The two leaders said the road is in the East African Community programme of the developing missing links along the regional infrastructure corridor.

Speaking during the launch of the road, President Kenyatta said he is impressed with the progress being made saying it will enhance integration in the region.

“This is one of the missing links aimed at enhancing the East Africa Integration objectives, and a crucial link between Kenya and Tanzania,” said the President Kenyatta.

The two leaders noted that Arusha-Holili-Taveta-Voi Road Project links the Northern Corridor at Voi.

The two leaders said the road project is the second to be funded by ADB, the first one being the improvement of Arusha-Namanga/Namanga-Athi River road.

President Kikwete thanked President Kenyatta for inviting him to preside over the launch of the construction of the road saying residents of northern and north-west Tanzania use the road to transport goods from Mombasa.

“It takes 14 hours from Arusha to Voi. But with the construction, it will only take two and a half hours, reducing the time and saving on vehicle maintenance,” he said.

The Tanzanian President said the road is part of EAC projects and also the Arusha-Holili-Taveta-Voi-Mombasa transport corridor.

On the EAC, President Kikwete said members States had planned major infrastructure projects to connect countries and the whole region.

“In the past five years, trade between Kenya and Tanzania has grown by 40 per cent. When the road is complete, trade will go up by another 10 per cent,” said Kikwete.

African Development Bank Regional Director Gabriel Negatu said the institution has given USD 218 million (Ksh 22 billion) for the construction of the Taveta-Mwatate Road and the upgrading of the Arusha-Holili section. Kenya received USD 116 million (Ksh 12.1 billion), and Tanzania USD 102 million (Ksh 10 billion).

The Arusha-Holili section on the Tanzanian side is also being upgraded.

President Kikwete further stated that Kenya has begun improving the Taveta-Mwatate road to bitumen standards, he will soon invite President Kenyatta to launch the same programme for the Arusha-Holili section.

President Kikwete said the road will not only serve Kenyans and Tanzania, but the greater East African region as it links other roads with Burundi-Rwanda and even to Uganda.

He expressed hope that relations between the two countries will continue to be cordial.

The Tanzanian leader retires after 10 years at the helm with Tanzanians going to the polls on October 25 to vote in another leader.

When completed, the road will help Kenyans and Tanzanians do more business across countries, boosting the economies of their nations.

Other leaders present include Cabinet Secretary for Mining Najib Balala, Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu, Senator Dan Mwazo and MP Naomi Shaban.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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