AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK APPROVES LOAN FOR VOI – ARUSHA HIGHWAY
A loan package worth over 232 million US Dollars has been approved by the African Development Bank to help finance the much awaited construction of a new highway, connecting the Kenyan town of Voi – located 100 miles along the Mombasa to Nairobi highway – via the border town of Taveta with Arusha.
The two governments will add a further 28 million US Dollars to the project, which is expected to be completed by late 2018. With the financing now in place tenders are expected to be published in due course paving the way for the selection of contractors and commencement of construction later this year. Main beneficiaries will be trade between Tanzania and Kenya but even more so tourism, as the new highway will open up a number of national parks and private game reserves in both countries, giving tourists an opportunity to discover the region by road.
With the common tourist Visa expected to come into force by next year, visitors for instance flying into Mombasa can then do extended road itineraries, exploring Tsavo East and Tsavo West, the Taita Hills Game Reserve and the sites of ‘Battlefield East Africa’ in the wider Taita – Taveta area, while on the Tanzanian side the Pare Mountains and Mkomanzi National Park, which adjoins sections of the Tsavo National Park of Kenya are within easy reach as are the Kilimanjaro and Arusha national parks. Two international airlines serve both Kilimanjaro International and Mombasa, i.e. Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines, allowing travelers with ‘open jaw tickets’ to fly into one of the two airports and depart from the other without having the backtrack the same route again.
The new highway is part of a new wave of 21st century infrastructure projects in Eastern Africa, aimed to create vital road and railway links to permit intensified local and regional trade and open up the entire East Africa to tourism, a key economic activity in all the five member states.