Kenya to Launch Rapid Road and Rail Transport to Ease the Country’s Urban Traffic Congestion

August 2, 2012

World Bank approves $300 million to upgrade city roads to reduce travel time and costs

Washington DC, August 2, 2012—Kenya will develop new mass rapid transport systems to reduce traffic congestion in Nairobi and other major cities and to improve Kenya’s regional competitiveness.

The National Urban Transport Improvement Project (NUTRIP), which was approved by the World Bank today, will help to expand the capacity of Uhuru highway, which bisects Nairobi’s central business district, and to initiate rapid bus transit and commuter rail systems.  

The World Bank will invest $300 million in the project, in addition to $113 million from the Kenyan Government.  

“By helping to ease traffic congestion and develop a modern commuter system, this project will enable Nairobi to remain a great city in which to live and to do business,” said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “Developing countries like Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria have embraced mass public transit systems as they transitioned to middle-income status, and it is now time for Kenya to follow their example.”

A National Metropolitan Transport Authority will be established to coordinate and regulate public transport. It will recommend policies on pricing and investments, financing equipment and related traffic management systems.

The major components of the project include the expansion and upgrading of highway, service, and access roads from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport through Nairobi to Rironi on the Northern Corridor transport system. It will also finance the construction of by-passes in Kisumu in Western Kenya and Meru in the East.

Moreover, the project will finance the building and operation of new rapid bus and rail transport systems to increase the volume and speed of passenger and freight services around the country’s urban areas.  

“With this project, the process of reforming the urban transport has just begun, and its ultimate success will require widespread community support,” said Josphat Sasia, the project’s Task Team Leader. “Developing public transport systems that move large numbers of commuters will relieve the worsening traffic congestion, and improve the local business climate.”

The project will be implemented by agencies working for the Ministries of Roads and Transport, including the Kenya National Highways Authority, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the Kenya Railways Corporation.

The new project, NUTRIP, will further deepen major investment in the transport sector in line with the government’s Vision 2030 and the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Kenya. The Bank has invested another $960 million in the country’s Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project, and another $300 million in the Kenya Transport Sector Support Project.

The World Bank and other development partners such as the African Development Bank, the European Union, Japan, and China, are helping Kenya to modernize its transport system and to remove barriers to a more dynamic business climate in Kenya and the wider East African region.

The new project is financed by the International Development Association (IDA*), the World Bank’s zero-interest fund for the world’s poorest countries, which repayment period of 40 years with a grace period of 10 years.


* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.


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