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Economy

Sh81bn WB loan to spur development in northern Kenya

A section of Isiolo town
A section of Isiolo town. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG? 

Residents of northern Kenya will get faster internet connectivity to their homes and better road transport after receiving $750 million (Sh81.28 billion) loan from the World Bank.

The Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project (HoAGDP), targeting key infrastructure from Isiolo to Mandera, is aimed at stimulating investment and accelerating security response in the underdeveloped region.

The project, to be implemented in six years, targets to improve trade and transportation, internet connectivity as well as social services for the more than 3.2 million residents of the expansive corridor.

It comes at a time when the World Bank has stepped up lending to Kenya including the $1 billion (Sh108 billion) that was approved in May to help the country close a gaping budget deficit and tackle the economic shocks from the coronavirus pandemic

“This transformative project will integrate the region and enhance security, inclusion, and a sense of equity, which the communities living in this underserved region of Kenya have desired for a long time,” said the lender’s lead transport specialist and task team leader Josphat Sasia.

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The bank said the Sh81.2 billion loan, which will come from the International Development Association, will be repaid over a 30-year period, after a grace period of five years. Interest on the facility was not disclosed.

The World Bank said it will fund the upgrade of the of half (365km) of the Isiolo-Mandera Regional Road Corridor, which stretches 740km, as well as 30km of spur roads.

The remainder of the road will be funded by other development partners.

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