PRESS STATEMENT BY THE FRONTIER COUNTIES DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL ON THE HORN OF AFRICA GATEWAY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
1. On behalf of The people and the leadership of Northern Kenya and particularly the Frontier Counties Development Council we are extremely exited at the news of the successful negotiation by the Government of Kenya with the World Bank for a credit facility of KShs 81billion or (US$ 750 million) to finance the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project (HoAGDP)a section of 395 Kilometres road from Isiolo to Mandera.
2. We express our immense gratitude to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta under whose direct leadership and negotiation that this approval has been realized. this will be the biggest legacy project of his government for most deserving population. this is project that will definitely start the beginning of bringing the discussion of marginalization and exclusion to a close. the people of Northern Kenya will remain indefinitely indebted to you our president for this life changing infrastructure investment under you tenure that will remain arguably the most transformative legacy project for most deserving people of North Eastern Kenya. once realized, the project will bring down the cost of living, cut down journey times, and enable trading and investment beyond the North. The project will touch many lives and present many income generating opportunities. this project will also open trading opportunities for central Kenya and eastern Kenya farmers for supply of fresh farm produce to northern Kenya.
3. Our special thanks also go to the World Bank for approving this loan facility which is billed as the single largest credit facility to be approved in the bank’s history for sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt it will improve living standards and reduce widespread poverty in these counties while at the same time opening up many job and income generating opportunities for youth and bolstering cross border trade and regional integration with neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somalia. The road corridor is a regional route, which serves as a transit route connecting Kenya to Somalia and landlocked Ethiopia. It will facilitate agriculture and livestock-based investment flows and transfers of technology.
4. Our people are excited that the World Bank and Government of Kenya funding will be used to upgrade to bitumen standards the 190 kilometres Isiolo-Modogashe Road and the 175-kilometres Wajir-Elwak road sections, construction if two new bridges and customs border at Rhamu and Mandera and other trade facilities. The urban areas along the road corridor will also get an upgrade of up to 30 kilometres of bitumen standard roads.
5. Equally packaged with the transformative road project is a 740 kilometre fibre optic cable from Isiolo to Mandera which will improve internet connectivity and digital opportunities plus an additional 200KM fibre optic coonectivity within the centers
6. With poverty levels in Northern Kenya being extremely high at 70%, compared to 45% national average, and this is largely due to 50 years of neglect by successive governments, the road will impact lives in ways never envisaged before and will harness dozens of opportunities for small scale entreprenurs and the county governments who pay a fortune as transport costs to have goods and services delivered.
7. Our only appeal to the Government is that with the transport corridor underway with its fibre optic network, the only gap that will be required for complete enablers for unlimited investment will be connection to the electricity grid. Electricity access in Northern Kenya is estimated at a mere 7%. Access to electricity will help the region and country meet sustainable development goals and attract investment flows.
8. When completed, the project is envisaged as one that will bring to an end the discussion of marginalization in the North as well as the single most transformative investment any government in that region for over 100 years. It will be an opportunity to improve Kenya’s strong economic performance which should translate into shared prosperity and a strategy to reduce poverty across the Northern Kenya region.
9. Finally, I would like to thank pioneer Governors of FCDC Ahmed Abdilahi (Wajir), Nathif Jama (Garissa), Hussein Dado of Tana River, Issa Timamy of Lamu, Ukur Yattani of Marsabit and Governor Doyo of Isiolo for their initial succesful lobbying efforts for this project. I equally extend my appreciation to the current Governors of Frontier Counties Development Council Prof John Lanyangapuo of West Pokot, Moses Lenoolkulal of Samburu, Jospehat Nanok of Turkana, Amb. Abdi Mohamed of Wajir, Ali Korane of Garissa, Dr Mohamed Kuti of Isiolo and Vice chair of FCDC Mahamud Ali of Marsabit.
END OF STATEMENT
H.E. Capt. Ali Ibrahim Roba,
FCDC Chairman & Mandera Governor