PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete and his Kenyan counterpart, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, have launched a grand road project involving construction of the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Mwatate Road to unlock the Northern Corridor.
At a ceremony held here yesterday, the two presidents expressed their optimism for the accelerated economic development of the area as the road will help transport goods to and from the port of Mombasa and create employment to more people in the process.
In his speech, President Kikwete said the project, which is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), will see less time spent on the road, while vehicles would be assured of less damage. AfDB agreed to release US$ 120 million to Tanzania while Kenya gets US$ 113.12 million.
The project will comprise civil works for the construction of the 42.4km Arusha bypass and dual carriageway linking the Sakina-Tengeru section of 14.1 kilometres as well as the construction of two roadside amenities at Tengeru, one on either side of the dual carriageway in Tanzania.
President Kikwete said this is a second major road construction to link the two countries after the Arusha- Namanga-Athi River Road project. He said more plans are to join Lamu-Mombasa-Lungalunga-Tanga- Bagamoyo-Dar es Salaam sections. He assured Kenyans, who turned in great numbers at the ceremony, of continued cooperation and friendship with Tanzania.
President Kenyatta hailed the achievement, saying it was a beginning of economic prosperity as the project would highly improve lives of people from the two countries. “Our people are one; we intermarry and do business together.
They are very important so it is upon the governments to facilitate conducive environment for them to improve their lives by removing the barriers they face,’’ President Kenyatta observed.
He noted the presence of One Border Post, saying that with the road project, Kenya has high hopes of also getting electricity from Tanzania, “as you have a lot of natural gas and a great work is being done there now’’.
The Kenyan leader said that with good leadership, there will be one big free market that will attract more investors and donors while people will get employment and reduce poverty among them. He thanked President Kikwete “for the great job he did in 10 years for Tanzania and East Africa’’.
Mr Gabriel Negatu from the AfDB said the bank appreciates commitment by Kenya and Tanzania in implementation of the project, citing the project as a gateway to Mombasa Port that will help people of the two countries linking North Corridor to Central.
He said in the last five years cooperation and trade volume between the two countries has increased by 40 per cent and once the project is completed a 10 per cent addition would be realised, something he said is a huge achievement.
The project involves the upgrading of the 89-kilometre Taveta-Mwatate portion and construction of the 12-kilometre Taveta bypass and two roadside amenities, one each at Bura and Maktau along the Mwatate-Taveta Road on the Kenyan side of the bargain.
The East African Community (EAC) seeks to improve regional transport infrastructure to support economic and social development programmes in the region, promote tourism and foster regional integration and at the same time reduce the cost of doing business by supporting cross border and international trade.
Meanwhile, President Jakaya Kikwete has assured the private sector that the government will continue empowering Tanzanians and improving environment for business growth to attract more investments in the country.
“My government has done a lot in empowering Tanzanians and I want to assure you that the fifth or coming government will continue with the same commitment,” Mr Kikwete stressed.
Speaking at a Private Sector Farewell Dinner hosted by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) over the weekend, the president said good working relations between the public and private sector should be strengthened for the betterment of the country.
He added his government has been taking different measures to ensure that the private sector is fully involved in serious matters related to creating conducive and friendly business environment foundation in Tanzania.
“Good economic policies and private sector efforts have helped the economy to grow steadily,” said Mr Kikwete, who is also the Chairman of Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), adding that public and private sectors must continue to work closely.
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