The growth and development brought by the Kiambu Road Highway dual

Kenya has secured a deal with the Chinese government to loan 34 billion shillings with a mission to expand Kiambu road into a dual highway. The Kenya national highway authority (KeNHA) commenced the project to ease the current and consistent traffic congestion along the busy route and other adjoining road networks.

KeNHA said that the road would ease the development of infrastructures along the Kiambu road while growing the main Kiambu town to its initial peri-urban status. This development would also ease the movement of agricultural products since some of Kiambu town’s residents are pure agriculturalists.

The development was commissioned as the Kiambu road has had a constant surge of road users due to the rapid development of the area. However, the road has remained narrow causing traffic snarl-ups and work delays to road users, especially during rush hours.


The sh38.3 billion China loan taken for the Kiambu Road Highway dual

The 25-kilometer dual highway, which cuts through Muthaiga, Kiambu to Ndumberi, is expected to cost $286.1 million (Sh38.3 billion), including Sh7.4 billion for land acquisition and relocation of services in a stretch dominated by car yards.

Over the past decade, Nairobi has received significant loans from China for the development of large-scale infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, with China becoming the largest bilateral creditor since 2015.

However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) listed over 20 African countries, including Kenya, as being in debt distress in 2020. As a result, Chinese lenders, such as China Eximbank and China Development Bank, have implemented stricter lending terms.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated this caution in a video speech at the triennial Forum of China-Africa Cooperation in November 2021, announcing that China would reduce its lending to Africa by a third to $40 billion over the next three years, and shift the focus away from large infrastructure projects towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), green initiatives, and private investment.

China’s influence on Kenya’s infrastructure projects began with the construction of the Thika Superhighway in 2009, and China Road and Bridge Corporation has since been involved in several major projects in Kenya, including:

  • railways
  • ports
  • road projects

Although Kenya has decreased its borrowing from China in recent years, it has increased borrowing from the IMF and World Bank to supplement the budget and cover expenses such as civil servant salaries.


Reprieve for motorists in the Kiambu Road Highway dual

The Kenyan government has taken a step forward in the development of a dual carriage road running through Karura Forest, Runda Estate and Muthaiga Estate. The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is currently seeking public feedback on the proposed project.

NEMA has called on the public to provide written or oral comments within a 30-day period from the date of the notice, which was published last Friday. The comments will assist NEMA in the decision-making process regarding the project.

In 2019, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) contracted Span Engineers and Apec Consortium to create designs and conduct feasibility studies for the road. The firms were required to factor in the views of local residents, some of whom had requested non-motorized transport facilities to be included in the design since the road would pass through residential areas.

KeNHA has issued notices to owners of structures located on the road reserves, warning them that the structures will be demolished.