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East Africa Heads of State officially launch the Arusha Bypass Road

East Africa Heads of State officially launch the Arusha Bypass Road

Heads of State of the East Africa Community (EAC) launched the Arusha Bypass Road, during the EAC Heads of State summit, which took place in Arusha, Tanzania. The 42.4 km bypass seeks to decongest traffic in the towns of Arusha and Moshi and to promote intra-regional trade.

It is a component of the multinational Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road project, funded by the African Development Bank Group, and connects Tanzania and Kenya.

The funding, from the African Development Fund, the Bank’s concessional window, amounts to $217 million, $112 million for Tanzania and $105 million for Kenya.

Other factors of the project on the Tanzania side involve the dualling of the Sakina-Tengeru section (14.1km) and construction of two roadside amenities at Tengeru, one on either side of the dual carriageway. On the Kenya side, the project involved upgrading the Mwatate-Taveta section (89km), construction of the Taveta Bypass (12km) and two roadside amenities at Bura and Maktau along the Mwatate-Taveta road.

The road was unveiled by the outgoing EAC Chairperson President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Tanzanian President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who were accompanied by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye, as well as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia. 

Other leaders present were Rwandan Prime Minister, Édouard Ngirente, who represented President Paul Kagame; Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge, who represented President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo; South Sudan’s Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who represented President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Speaking during the event, President Kenyatta said the road would reduce traffic congestion and foster integration of the EAC. He also noted that that it will make transporting goods between Tanzania and Kenya and the wider EAC easier.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan urged residents of Tanzania and Kenya to take advantage of emerging opportunities emanating from the project to uplift themselves, which would consequently contribute to stimulating economic growth. 

The African Development Bank Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, was present at the launch of the road project and said: “The Arusha Bypass will not only enhance trade between Tanzania and Kenya, but will also facilitate trade for landlocked regional neighbors, namely Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”

She added: “The project has enabled significant reductions in transit times, facilitated cross-border trade; and enhanced access for tourists to the many attractions in this region.  For instance, transit time at Taveta/Holili Border that previously took almost an entire day, now takes less than two hours, due to the improved road conditions and streamlined border procedures.

Travel time to schools, health facilities and markets have also been reduced, thereby improving the welfare of the communities.” Nwabufo reiterated the Bank’s commitment to continue working closely with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the EAC member countries and Secretariat in development endeavors to improve the wellbeing of the people of East Africa.

The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Betty Maina, lauded the road project, describing it as a great milestone for the EAC in advancing its integration agenda. She thanked the African Development Bank for its support and taking a lead in financing investments to bridge Africa’s $217 billion infrastructure gap.

 In a Communiqué signed by the Heads of State at the end of the Summit, the leaders commended the Bank for financing the project.(link is external)

The Arusha Bypass Road is aligned with the Bank’s High 5 priorities, in particular, “Integrate Africa” and “Improving the quality of life of Africans”.

The African Development Bank’s Country Manager for Tanzania, Patricia Laverley, also participated in the launch of the bypass road.

The Bank’s active portfolio in East Africa amounts to $14.1 billion, 32% of which is in the transport sector. These investments by the Bank are helping to facilitate the movement of goods, services, and people, promoting intra-regional trade, and improving access to global markets.



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