East African Community (EAC) member states are considering upgrading their 30,000km road network to bitumen standards in the coming 33 years.
At an average rate of 900km per annum, the region is looking to cover its entire road network come 2050. This is according to EAC vision 2050.
Decent road infrastructure is among the development milestones details for the Vision 2050. The project prioritizes improved road networks to support industrialization drive and ease movements of both people and goods.
Besides, the EAC Partner States have agreed on ten transit transport corridors. The corridors constitute EAC Road Network, including twelve feeder corridors. Also maintaining the infrastructure vision under the Road Transport Sub-sector will be achieved through developing the EAC Corridors.
However, it is envisioned that 2050, the level of services along the main transport corridors will have improved substantially, reaching categories B and A, from the current average regional levels of C, D and E.
Current flagship projects include Uganda’s Entebbe and Kampala-Jinja Expressways, the Mombasa-Mariakani and Chalinze Expressways in Kenya and Tanzania, respectively. Of critical importance also will be the upgrading of secondary and feeder roads from gravel to bitumen standards.
The discovery of oil and gas in the region is a boon for road construction sector. Furthermore, the costs of construction are likely to drop because of reduced import costs of petroleum based products. Moreover, the upgrading cost is likely to cost between US$20-25bn.
Nonetheless, projects prioritized under the Heads of State to relieve the congestion at the ports constitute much of the priorities in the sub- sector for the next 20-25 years.
The East African Road Network
The current East African Road Network covers Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, including the Northern Corridor (Mombasa-Voi-Eldoret-Bugiri – Kampala-Masaka-Kigali-Kibuye – Kayanza-Bujumbura), measuring 1,800 kilometres.
The 3,100-kilometre Central Corridor covers Dar es Salaam – Morogoro-Dodoma-Singida – Nzega-Nyakanazi-Bujumbura to Kigali and Gisenyi and the Dar es Salaam (TAZARA) Corridor (Morogoro-Iringa-Mbeya -Tunduma) is 1,100 kilometres.
There is also the Namanga Corridor (Iringa-Dodoma-Kalema -Arusha-Nairobi-Thika-Murang’a – Embu-Nyeri-Nanyuki-Isiolo – Marsabit-Moyale), with 1,800 kilometres.
The Sumbawanga Corridor links Tunduma-Sumbawanga-Kasulu-Makamba-Nyanza Lac-Rumonge, all the way to Bujumbura, measuring 1,300 kilometres while the Sirari Corridor (Lokichokio -Lodwar-Kitale-Bungoma-Kisumu -Kisii-Mwanza-Biharamulo) is 1,500-kilometre long.
The Coastal Corridor (Mingoyo-Dar es Salaam; Chalinze-Vanga -Mombasa-Malindi-Lamu) has 1,500 kilometres.
The Mtwara Corridor (Mtwara-Mingoyo – Masasi-Tunduru-Songea-Mbamba Bay) is 800-kilometre long. There are also the 500-kilometre Arusha Corridor (Arusha-Moshi -Himo-Lushoto – A1) and the Gulu Corridor (Nimule – Bibia – Gulu – Lira – Soroti – Mbale -Tororo), 600 kilometres.
The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor (Lamu-Isiolo-Lodwar – Nadapal) transcends to Ethiopia through 1,700 kilometres.
The corridors bring the total EAC Road Corridor Network length to 15,800 kilometres, which if joined to other feeder roads, stretch to 30,000 kilometres in total.