December 8, 2009 / 11:33 AM / 10 years ago

AfDB loans Kenya $166 mln for road to Ethiopia

Road construction project near Isiolo town, about 320 km (200 miles) north of Kenyan capital Nairobi, July 7, 2008. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) will lend Kenya 12.5 billion shillings to build a road connecting east Africa’s biggest economy with its northern neighbour Ethiopia, officials said on Tuesday.

The new 123 km (76 mile) route is designed to open up remote regions of Kenya’s north that have been isolated from the rest of the country, as well as encourage regional trade.

“(The project) is aimed at improving the socio-economic situation of the people in the regions through which it will pass,” Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said, adding that water wells would be drilled in communities along the route.

“The road will open up a vast territory ... (and) will greatly improve the flow of trade between the two countries.”

No good road connects the countries. The current route cannot be used in all weather conditions and is in a very bad state, Kenyatta said. The new road will enter Ethiopia at Moyale.

The Tunis-based AfDB has committed 140 billion shillings to various Kenyan development programmes to date, Kenyatta said. Currently 18 projects funded by the bank are underway, including energy, health and agriculture schemes.

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