Billion-shilling Investments Changing The Face of Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking during the National Covid19 Conference on September 28, 2020.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking during the National Covid19 Conference on September 28, 2020.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta is championing infrastructure as the hallmark of his leadership.

His Big 4 Agenda married his development plans with Kenya's existing Vision 2030 national programme, which is designed to boost growth with new roads, railways and ports.

Though a number of Kenyans have argued that President Kenyatta's ambitious projects have eaten a huge chunk of the country's budget, an officer from the President's Delivery Unit who spoke to explained the importance of the undertakings. 

PDU Secretary Andrew Wakihiu and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with other PDU staff at their new offices at Tourism Fund Building on September 23, 2020
PDU Secretary Andrew Wakihiu and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with other PDU staff at their new offices at Tourism Fund Building on September 23, 2020

"This development projects should be looked at from a bigger perspective. They will serve as an enabler for Kenyans to do business and grow the economy. The economy needs reliable infrastructure to connect supply chains and efficiently move goods and services across borders.

"Infrastructure connects households across metropolitan areas to higher quality opportunities for employment, healthcare and education," the PDU officer explained. 

Mombasa Port
The port was built in 1895 to serve as the main trade gateway for the Eastern Africa region, serving Kenya and its neighbours. 

The port is currently undergoing an elaborate expansion to be able to fit its position and status the 5th busiest port in Africa. 

The government is set to spend Ksh19 billion to modernize and upgrade four berths at the port of Mombasa to handle goods packed in containers and also those that are not packed. 

Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT)
The Ksh 40 billion oil terminal, which is currently under construction, is a 200,000 DWT capacity facility capable of handling import and export of all petroleum products.

The oil jetty has a dedicated high volume Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) channel which is expected to enhance supply of cooking gas in Kenya and the region.

The project is being undertaken by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), has a timeline of 30 months and it is expected to be ready by August 1, 2021.

The Kipevu Oil Terminal is expected to expand Kenya’s petroleum handling and storage capacity by almost 400 per cent.

An oil tanker, Mt Frixos, discharges crude oil at Kipevu terminal at the port of Mombasa
An oil tanker, Mt Frixos, discharges crude oil at Kipevu terminal at the port of Mombasa

JKIA-Westlands Expressway
The Ksh60 billion road project starts at JKIA and terminate at James Gichuru, along Waiyaki Way, in Westlands.

The mega project is being undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

Unlike ongoing projects, where the government has secured loans to fund construction, the government says the PPP framework agreement will see CRBC invest its own money and later recoup its investment from toll fees paid by motorists using the road.

Drivers will have the option of using the express way to escape the heavy traffic jams at a fee.

To expedite its construction, the contractor introduced a technology which reduces the construction period of the elevated section by 50%.

An artist's' impression of the JKIA-Westlands Expressway
An artist's' impression of the JKIA-Westlands Expressway

Likoni Pedestrian Floating Bridge
The 1.2 kilometer floating bridge, the first of its kind in the region is at 51 percent completion rate and will be ready for use by end of this year.

When complete, the Ksh1.9 billion bridge is expected to ease pressure on the Likoni ferry crossing by taking up most of the foot traffic, leaving the ferries to serve vehicular cargo between Mombasa and the South Coast.

The construction works of the project are being carried out by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and overseen by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) which is under the state’s ministry of transport and infrastructure.

Designed for pedestrians only, the Likoni floating bridge deck will comprise a 529 m long floating section, and 54 m long approaches on either side of the floating span. It will have a discrete-continuous structural system with 35 No. double body supported boats, and 2 No. end boats with twin springboards installed to form the floating bridge deck.

Windpower Project
Located in the Loyangalani, Turkana County, the 310MW wind power project is the single biggest wind farm built in Africa and represents Kenya’s biggest ever private investment.

The project is powered by the Turkana corridor wind, a low level jet stream originating from the Indian Ocean and blows all year round, according to a government statement.

An international consortium of lenders and producers, which includes the African Development Bank, came together to install the 365 wind turbines, which cost around Ksh70 billion, the largest private investment in Kenya's history.

The 52-meter blade span windmills take advantage of high winds in the remote area.

Lironi-Naivasha Road 
The project will involve expansion of the 233-kilometre road into a four-lane dual carriageway from Rironi in Limuru to Mau Summit in Nakuru County.

The scope of work, which also involves widening of the Mai Mahiu-Naivasha Road, will also involve the erection of toll stations on the highway under a Public Private Partnership.

The combined effect of expanding Waiyaki Way from James Gichuru - Rironi and the new toll road from Rironi to

Mau Summit would completely transform the economies of counties along the route. 
The government is also set to expand the Mau Summit-Malaba Road to complete the corridor to Western Kenya.

Kisumu Port
Kisumu port was upgraded in 2019, with work including concreting of the port yard, construction of the quayside, repairs of the linkspan, revamping the dry dock and rehabilitation of all buildings to boost efficiency.

All roads within and the link roads to the port facility have also been repaired and feeder jetties and piers are also being put in place.

The port has further been equipped with equipment such as forklift trucks, mobile cranes and tractor-trailers.

The volume of cargo handled at the revamped Kisumu port jumped to 17,735 tonnes in 2019, a 62 per cent increase compared to 2018. 

MV Uhuru docked at Kisumu Port, Kisumu County

Hailed as a white elephant project, the SGR, this was one of the first of President Uhuru Kenyatta's projects. 

The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway connects the port city of Mombasa and Nairobi.

The next phase of the rail is the Nairobi-Naivasha section which stretches from Nairobi to Naivasha, a distance of about 120 kilometres.

The SGR was supposed to extend to Kisumu but was deferred until a commercial viability study is conducted.

Kenya currently pays Ksh100 million every month to China’s Africa Star Railway Operation Company to run the railway.

The railway carried more than 19,000 passengers and 421,000 tons of cargo between Nairobi and Mombasa in July, following a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.