Uganda is spending $1bn to build 95km highway, this is why

PUBLISHED: Fri, 18 May 2018 16:00:25 GMT

KAMPALA, May 18 (Reuters) – Uganda has invited bids from private investors to develop and operate a new 95km highway between its capital Kampala and a town in the country’s east to ease congestion on the ageing existing road.

The estimated $1 billion project is part of the so-called northern corridor, a crucial East African transport artery that connects Kenya’s coast to a vast hinterland including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the tender documents published on Friday, state-run Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the private developer will be “expected to design, build, finance, operate … and transfer the project back to government at the conclusion of the operational period.

In recent years the government of President Yoweri Museveni has been pumping huge amounts of money into roads, energy and other infrastructure projects, mostly financed by China, to boost the economy.

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The country’s first expressway, built at a cost of $500 million, is due to be opened next month between the capital and its sole international airport, Entebbe.

The 95km toll road, packaged as a public-private partnership, will connect Kampala and Jinja, an industrial town in the country’s east, also famous as the source of River Nile. One section of the motorway will have eight lanes, another six lanes and a third will have four lanes.

The European Union, the French Development Agency and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) have said they could offer funding for the project in a mix of credit and grants.