Thursday, June 20, 2024

Kenya Gets €142 Million from France Towards Health, Transport and Water Projects


Kenya has inked four financing agreements with France towards strengthening Nairobi’s health system, modernising its public transport, developing rural areas and improving water access and sanitation.

The deals, totalling €142 million (Sh18 billion) came after President Uhuru Kenyatta and several officials this week made a State visit to Paris.

“The agreements are aligned with the Kenyan Vision 2030 and will be targeting the enablers of its “Big Four” agenda,” the French Development Agency (AFD), whose officials signed the pacts with Kenyan officials, said in a statement.

Kenyan government has identified four strategic sectors around which to funnel resources and talent for development, also known as Big Four agenda.

Covid-19 response

The first agreement comprises a €30 million concessional loan to support Kenya’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will target the country’s national referral hospitals, as well as strengthen disease surveillance and control in counties and improve testing capacities.     

Opening up of rural areas

The second agreement involves a €30 million grant, delegated to AFD by the European Union, and blended with an AFD concessional loan of €60M. This financing will help upgrade rural roads in six arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL), including in Isiolo, Laikipia, Marsabit, Meru, Samburu and Tharaka-Nithi. Construction of access roads will open up the regions to markets and investments.

This project will be implemented by the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA). The roads will be upgraded using labour-based methods, thus creating employment and will also be designed to be climate-proof to increase resilience to climate shocks such as flooding and drought. Further, the project has an important component for capacity building of local contractors, consultants, KeRRA personnel and county officers in charge of roads.

Access to Water and Sanitation

The third agreement revolves around Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project (LVWATSAN). It is financed jointly by AFD with a concessional loan of €20 million, by the European Investment Bank (€35 million) and the European Union (a €5 million grant).

The project is expected to expand water and sanitation distribution network in the Kenya’s lakeside city of Kisumu, including to informal settlements and expansion to satellite towns. Additionally, there will be a water quality monitoring component for Lake Victoria. The project will be implemented by the Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency (LVSWWDA).

Public Transport

Finally, the last agreement involves a €1.5 million grant to finance technical support for improvement of Nairobi’s public transport.   

Under this, Kenya Railways Corporation will receive support to execute its commuter rail master plan, which will complement the proposed infrastructure financing by the French Treasury (commuter rail link from the airport to Nairobi’s central railway station) 

It will also support integrated planning of urban mobility and support for a bus rapid transit project implementation. There is also the capacity building component for the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (Namata) in partnership with a French public institution (CODATU) with the same mandate.

“As a long-term partner of the Kenyan government and one of its main bilateral financiers, the AFD Group is proud to provide a comprehensive set of financial and technical instruments to assist the country in combating the health challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic as part of a Team Europe effort, and to simultaneously put into gear infrastructure projects that will benefit the population of Kenya in the long-run so as to build a coherent response for a sustainable recovery from the crisis,” AFD CEO Rémy Rioux said.

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