World Bank grants Kenya $1bn loan for infrastructure development

The World Bank says it has given Kenya a one billion dollars concessional loan for energy, transport and water infrastructure projects in poorer regions of the country’s north and northeast.

The World Bank said in a statement on Thursday, that the regions were being targeted because they had benefited little from Kenya’s strong economic performance.

Most of the money will be spent in the counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot which fall below national averages on development indicators, the 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.

It will also ensure expanded support to the most vulnerable households through regular cash transfers.

The East African economy is growing by about 5.8 per cent this year, after electoral turmoil and drought cut last year’s expansion to the lowest level in more than five years.

The funding will go to six projects, including an off-grid energy access initiative worth 150 million dollars.

The World Bank said the off-grid energy project would provide electricity to 1.2 million people and contribute 96 megawatts to the national grid.

A further 500 million dollars would go toward a 740 kilometres stretch of the Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera road corridor in the northeast as well as enhance internet access there.

The new loan is in addition to 1.4 billion dollars the World Bank has already invested in the region in the areas of health, transport, agriculture and social protection.

The World Bank said given the significant needs, more needed to be done in a targeted and coordinated manner if the bank is to support the Government of Kenya in its efforts in the north and northeastern region.

Typically, World Bank concessional loans have zero or very low interest rates and have repayments periods of 25 to 40 years, with a five or 10-year grace period.

Source: Voice of Nigeria