Kenya has secured World Bank concessional loan of $1 billion that will aid energy, transport and water infrastructure projects in poorer regions of the East African country.
In a statement released on Thursday, World Bank, said, “These infrastructure investments are laying the ground for additional operations that will enable sustainable livelihoods with targeted support to farmers and pastoralists in the region and expanded support to the most vulnerable households through regular cash transfers.”
Most of the fund will be used on infrastructural project in counties including Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot, World Bank said.
Amongst the six projects that will be executed with the loan is an off-grid energy access initiative worth $150 million that will provide electricity to 1.2 million people and contribute 96 megawatts to the national grid. $500 million will go towards a 740 km stretch of the Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera road corridor in the northeast and augment internet access in the area.
“Given the significant needs, more needed to be done in a targeted and coordinated manner if the Bank was to support the Government of Kenya in its efforts in the north and northeastern region,” World Bank said.
The North and particularly Northeast regions of Kenya are the most remote parts of the country. Most counties in these regions have been identified to fall below national averages on development indicators. And according to World Bank, these regions have benefited little from Kenya’s strong economic performance.
Further asserting its point, World Bank noted that the average poverty rate in the regions named stands at 68 percent compared with a national average of 36 percent, while electrification rates there is only 14 percent compared with an estimated 44 to 70 percent nationally.
Prior to the new loan addition, World Bank already invested $1.4 billion in the region for developmental projects in the areas of health, transport, agriculture and social protection.