The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$228mn loan to the government of Kenya. The financing will go towards rehabilitating a 172 km road between Kenya and Tanzania.

The renovation of this route, to be undertaken between 2016 and 2019, will facilitate trade between the two neighbouring countries, halving the travel time and transports costs between the border towns of Isebania (Tanzania) and Ahero (Kenya), southeast of Lake Victoria.

The road forms part of the Sirari corridor, a major trade and transit route linking Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan’s major ports. Once completed, the road in expected to facilitate local and international trade, opening up new markets particularly for the agri-business and fishing industries.

“Lower transport costs will ensure that a greater share of the price of exported goods accrues to producers, thereby increasing incomes and reducing poverty,” says Amadou Oumarou, director of the transport and information and communications technology department at the AfDB.

The strengthening of public transport is also part of the project, with the AfDB also financing the construction of three bus stations to further facilitate the movement of people in the region.

Kenya and Tanzania are both part of the East African Community (EAC), of which they represent the biggest countries by geographic and economic size. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and President John Magufuli of Tanzania have pledged their commitment to reducing barriers to trade and integration in the EAC.

The countries are working on a series of infrastructure projects to increase the ease of travel and transport, including a road connecting Arusha in Tanzania to Voi in Kenya, involving one-stop border facilities between Holili (Tanzania) and Taveta (Kenya) in the Kilimanjaro region. This is one of 15 border posts under construction across the EAC and South Sudan, and was executed with funding from several international development agencies.