The Government of Kenya, in partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB), is planning to construct a mega road that will link West Pokot and Turkana counties with South Sudan to boost economic activities.
The road is an important link that will enhance regional integration, trade and development since it will connect to the Northern Corridor at Kitale–Lodwar-Nadapal (A1) road and Kitale -Endebess – Suam-Kapchorwa Corridor.
Speaking during a consultative forum held at a Kapenguria Hotel, KENHA project Coordinator Eng. David Cherono said the road will support the regional integration objective of three out of five (Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan) countries who are member states of the East African Community (EAC) and the Great Lakes Region.
The road will intersect and connect with other critical international corridors including the Northern Corridor (Corridor 1) A8 Highway and LAPSSET Corridor A10 Highway at Webuye and Lokichar respectively.
Cherono noted that the government has recently procured contracts for the upgrading of sections of Nakuru -Marigat – Loruk – Barpelo – Marich Pass through local Government of Kenya financing.
The project coordinator stated that during the construction of the road, training should be offered to youth, People Living With Disabilities (PWLDs) and women on non-technical areas as they work during construction, advertising of jobs in public places and selection of youth equally at all centres.
He encouraged the contractor to sink boreholes in various places for use and share with the local communities and the same to revert to the local community after the project completion.
“The contractor should consider climate adaptation measures through proper design of drainage facilities, level of road embankment and designing infrastructure that will be cheaply and easily replaced if damaged. We also advocate for the use of the locally available materials,” he urged calling on the contractors to plant various indigenous trees species as part of the programme components.
He added that among other Community Social Responsibilities (CSR) including; building of rehabilitation centres to cater for accidents’ victims along the road, expansion of health centres to cater for more maternal care in the regions.
“Construction and expansion of education facilities such as dorms, classrooms, libraries, ablution and administration blocks will help the communities realize the benefits of the project. There will also be construction of public amenities and adaptation measures to minimise impacts on vulnerable groups,” stated Eng. Cherono.
He said local community will thrive through bolstered employment opportunities and encouraged the road contractor to ensure they integrate women in the workers committee, grievance readiness mechanisms, and local project committees for intervention.
“Women to be given special preference and allocated 30 per cent of jobs as per the construction and should be represented equally in leadership roles,’’ he noted.
Stakeholders present lauded the government’s move noting that the road will spur enormous economic activities since the West Pokot region is heavily endowed with so many hidden treasures worth tapping.
By Anthony Melly and Richard Muhambe