Economic growth and investment into infrastructure
Kenya’s GDP will grow by 6.5% this year according to the Metropol Economic Outlook 2019 report for Kenya. The growth has been largely attributed to the "Big Four" government projects under the auspices of President Uhuru Kenyatta, combined with the continuing stable political environment.
During his budget speech in June 2018, Finance Minister Henry Rotich told Parliament that, as a country, Kenya has come a long way since 2013, stating: “We had huge infrastructure gaps in roads, rail and air transport as well as challenges at our ports. Our capacity to generate energy was limited mainly to unreliable hydro and costly thermal sources.”
Rotich continued that through the implementation of the Economic Transformation Plan and its five supporting pillars –
improving the business climate by maintaining macroeconomic stability,
addressing security challenges, and reducing the cost of doing business;
closing the infrastructure gaps;
investing in key sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and tourism;
sharing prosperity by investing in pro-poor programmes in health, education and in social welfare programmes; and
fully supporting devolution
the government was seeing genuine results to rectifying some of these challenges.
In order to support further government plans, Rotich announced he had allocated: "a total of Ksh 115.9 billion for on-going road construction projects.”
"I have also allocated Ksh 2.7 billion for the Mombasa Port Development Project, and Ksh 1.4 billion for the expansion of Malindi, Isiolo and Lokichogio Airports and Kabunde, Kakamega, Kitale and Migori Airstrips. In addition, I have set aside funds for emergency repair of roads damaged by the recent floods across the country. I will also be engaging our development partners towards mobilising additional resources for the same purpose.”
Rotich is just one of the many finance ministers across Africa that are prioritising the development of infrastructure. In his budget speech in February this year, Botswana’s minister of finance and economic development, O.K. Matambo told Parliament that a "critical requirement for economic transformation is the availability of well-maintained transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
"Over the years, the Government invested a significant amount of resources in the development of transport-related infrastructure projects to drive economic growth, employment generation and contribute towards poverty alleviation. Among the completed trunk roads over the past decades are the major road loops such as the Trans Kgalagadi highway connecting Botswana with Namibia and the A1 highway-connecting Botswana with its neighbours both in the South and in the North."
Matambo continued: "To further improve access to quality and well-maintained roads, implementation of the following projects will continue: Gaborone-Boatle, which is being upgraded to dual carriageway; Dibete-Mookane-Machaneng; Mosu-Thalamabele and Charleshill-Ncojane roads, which are being upgraded to bitumen standard; and construction of Mohembo and Kazungula Bridges.
"Further, during 2019/2020 financial year, Government will commence the design of the Palapye-Martin’s Drift and Francistown-Maun-Mohembo roads, as they have been severely affected by torrential rains.”
Matambo said he had allocated P1.85 billion or 10.86% of the total development budget to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The allocation will cater for ongoing road projects include Rakhuna-Mabule; MmankgodiJwaneng; Gaborone–Boatle dualling; Mulambakwena-Tshesebe; and DibeteMookane-Machaneng. The budget will also finance “design and build’ projects at the intersections along the KT Motsete Drive, as well as modernisation and centralised traffic control for the Greater Gaborone Area.
"The budget provision also includes projects at tender stage which are Mogoditshane–GabaneMmankgodi and Mmandunyane-Shashe Mooke – Chadibe – Mathangwane roads. Other projects to be funded under this provision are the ongoing Kazungula and Mohembo bridges.”
While these allocations in and of themselves are insufficient to meet the transport needs of either of these countries, these allocations are being backed by a firm commitment to public private partnerships in Kenya and the establishment of a dedicated PPP unit within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2016.
PPPs and their role within the development of road infrastructure will be a key discussion topic at the upcoming Africa Road Infrastructure and Investment Congress 2019. Be sure you are there to participate and add your voice to the conversation.