Trade between Kenya and Ethiopia is expected to increase significantly to $175 million this year due to the 895-kilometre highway corridor linking the two countries.
The Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road, conceptualised in 2006, has been a major push for economic integration within Africa, resulting in jobs and improved livelihoods across the Horn region.
The corridor consists of a 504-kilometre road linking the Kenyan towns of Merille and Turbi, through Marsabit, and an additional 391-kilometre stretch running through Ethiopia linking Ageremariam, Yabelo and Mega. African Development Bank co-funded the project to the tune of $670 million, amounting to 64 per cent of total project costs.
The development has reduced average transport costs between Isiolo and Merille to 0.28 cents/km from 0.49 cents/km, while extra volume of goods transported to and from Mombasa has reached 900,000 tonnes per year. This makes Mombasa a major economic hub with direct and indirect benefits for more than two million people.
Also, it now takes less a day to travel from Nairobi to Moyale, compared to three days before the project was realised, while transport fare between the two towns has reduced to Ksh1,500 from Ksh2,500 in 2013.
In 2017, Kenyan customs generated about $70 million revenues from $16 million earned in 2014 along the corridor.
“The future of our continent is looking very promising indeed,” AfDB’s Group President Akinwumi Adesina declared in the opening words of his address to diplomats at a lunch organised on 5 February 2019, in Abidjan.
The Kenya-Ethiopia corridor is part of the infrastructure built with AfDB’s financing under one of its key High 5 priorities (Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.)
While the Kenyan section of the corridor was completed in 2016, the last part of the road in Ethiopia will be finished during the first half of 2019.
AfDB continues to invest in infrastructure to connect countries and improve their competitiveness. It has provided $16 million to the Economic Community of West African States for the preparation of feasibility studies for the Lagos-Abidjan corridor.
“Africa will not develop through aid, but through investment,” added Mr Adesina.
The Bank was the lead lender for the construction of the historic Senegambia bridge linking Gambia and Senegal, which opened on 21 January 2019. And the Bank’s investment portfolio in Côte d’Ivoire has tripled in the last three years, reaching $1.8 billion in 2018.