The Socio-Economic Benefits And Drawbacks Of The Nairobi Expressway

Kenya has been viewed as a country with the fastest-growing economic growing economy in East Africa.

However, for a long time, Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, has had many socio-economic challenges due to long city traffics and congestion.

The mess is a result of the dense population in the city due to centralized government services and business interests.

The government had made plans 11 years ago to construct a decker expressway to help curb socio-economic effects that arise daily from these congestion messes in the city, especially the traffic jam.

It was under the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, that the long-awaited Nairobi Expressway project was launched.

The Expressway is a 27km (17-miles) four to six-lane dual carriageway,  that connects Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in the east of the city to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in the west of the city.

This project is estimated to have a cost of around Ksh.60billion, however, it’s a public-private partnership between the Kenyan government and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). CRBC did the design, funded the project, and was in charge of its construction.

The company will also be in charge of its maintenance.

The longer period under foreign company management

As per the agreement, the firm will operate the highway for 27years before handing it over to the Kenyan government.

Baseless class war

Some people have argued that the project will only benefit the rich and not the poor. Nevertheless, that is a class war that is baseless, hence nonbeneficial to the Kenyan economy.

For instance, when a traffic jam occurs, it negatively affects both PSV and Private Vehicles, where the rich, middle class, and the poor, all suffer safe loss, that’s time.

Ease congestion

This Expressway, when in operation, will ease the congestion mess in the capital city.

According to KENHA, Kenya has been losing over Ksh. 50 million daily due to transportation delays and fuel wastage from traffic jams and accidents as of 2019.

This adversely affects urban areas and the government in general.

Boosting the economy and Vision 2030

The location, Northern Corridor, at which the expressway has been positioned is very key to Kenya and the neighbouring countries.

The northern corridor is the main gateway for exports and imports in Kenya’s biggest port, Mombasa, to neighbouring countries like Rwanda and Uganda.

Kenya’s transport, CS Mr Macharia, stated that almost 85% of all cargo and commuter traffic in surrounding areas will be accommodated by the expressway.

Being an essential infrastructure, Kenyan officials have lauded that the Expressway will spur modernisation, boosting the dream of vision 2030, which is part of the millennium goals.

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This will transform Kenya to have a high quality of life class, competing globally with other prosperous countries.

Employment opportunities

Since the project commenced, around 1,800 locals have been hired by the CRBC to offer both manual and professional Labour.

Additionally, after the construction, some professionals have been hired to run the day-to-day activities of the Expressway.

This has provided an economic boost to the nation in helping to overcome the unemployment problem.

Environmental Impact

Despite all the good that will come with the Expressway, there have been a few challenges that arise from the project.

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For instance, the environmental impact caused by paving way for the project, where trees and natural habitats have been distracted.

Expensive project

Additionally, the project itself is so expensive, and being run by a private company for 27years, and not the national government, has a huge economic impact on the nation’s economy.

See also: Steps And Requirements For One To Use The Nairobi Expressway

Congestion and Traffic jam

Finally, during the construction, the congestion and traffic jams that were caused daily due to paving the way by motorists to allow construction works of the Expressway brought a lot of confusion in the city.