KAMPALA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The government will expand a major road linking Uganda with Kenya through the Kapchorwa - Bukwo - Suam border, after signing a 94.52 million U.S. dollars (343 billion Uganda Shillings) loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The road is part of a multinational project involving Uganda and Kenya dubbed the Kapchorwa-Suam-Kitale and Eldoret Bypass Roads Project.
Officials said on Friday the construction of the 105.76 million dollars road is expected to last four years, and will be partly financed through government counterpart funds.
"The road is expected to open trade through the eastern part of the country, by linking us to Kenya. Government will therefore provide 11.24 million U.S. dollars to ensure that the project is completed on time, since this is a transformative project that will contribute to social economic development and poverty reduction in eastern Uganda and western Kenya," said the state minister of finance for investment, Evelyn Anite.
According to the AfDB officials, the stretch from Kapchorwa to Kitale measures 118 kilometers, and once completed, will provide an all-weather access for citizens, farmers and traders.
Anite said the project will also include construction of a one-stop border post at Suam to facilitate trade between the two countries, travelers and transport operators.
"Once completed in 2021, the project will also contribute to improving the living standards of the 1.4 million people in the project zone of influence," Anite said.
The road will boost trade in the productive sub regions of Bugisu, Karamoja and Sebei known for the production of maize, barley, sorghum and coffee, among others, she added.
In the rainy season, the current gravel road often gets flooded and denies access to goods that could cross from Uganda to Kenya.
The AfDB director general, Gabriel Negatu said upgrading the road will reduce travel time between the two countries, and contribute to poverty reduction by improving household incomes and wellbeing through increased access to markets and social services.
Negatu said the project is also in line with the EAC regional integration agenda, and is in line with the AfDB's objective to accelerate Africa's transformation through promoting regional integration and improving people's living standards.
He said the bank also aims to increase agricultural production on the continent through access to markets and promoting industrialization.
"The bank will bring, throughout the project cycle, engineering, environmental and economic expertise and experience to realize the objectives and benefits of the project," he said.
Works and transport minister, Monica Ntege said this will provide access for the supply of farm inputs and distribution of produce to major market centers.