Kenya needs Sh10b more for infrastructure projects

Published on 05/02/2009

By John Oyuke

The Government will need to increase its annual infrastructure budget by at least Sh10 billion over the next decade, in order to meet basic needs of its population.

This would bring the total amount to Sh160 billion a year. According to the World Bank, although Kenya compares well with low-income country benchmarks, it is far from middle-income countries, where it aims to be by 2030.

The allocation of the funds will have to be reviewed, with an increase of funding to the transport sector.

In its new study, “Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD),” the bank said poor maintenance has left much of the existing infrastructure in poor state hindering economic growth.

World Bank Lead Economist, Vivien Foster, however, said the country should not find it difficult to raise the extra funds needed, as they amount to only 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

“Burden of spending needs is manageable given Kenya’s economy,” she said adding that the country is already spending $1.9 billion annually mainly on Information and Communications Technology and power.Foster was spoke during a presentation meeting on the findings of Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic Study chaired by the new World Bank Country Director, Johannes Zutt in Nairobi yesterday.

More Studies Needed

The financier on behalf of a steering committee that represents the African Union, Nepad, and regional economic communities in Africa, the African Development Bank and major infrastructure donors is implementing the AICD initiative.

Focusing initially on 24 countries, the AICD seeks to expand the knowledge of physical infrastructure in Africa and provide a baseline against which future improvements in infrastructure services can be measured.

The study mainly assessed the development project carried out in the country up to year 2006, they said.The study focuses only on the activity carried out before or up to 2006.According to the main findings of the study port logistics and electricity costs are the biggest brakes on trade and productivity and that ICT reforms have brought major benefits in terms of universalizing GSM coverage in the country.

It also found that though there is sound framework for maintenance of road network, rehabilitation of the same remains an issue in the country.

The study also cautioned that current attempts by Kenya to achieve the Millennium Development Goals seem to be receding with more people using surface water and practicing open defecation.

Zutt said though the findings showed a mixed picture for Kenya, it is important that the government doubles effort to meet middle income countries benchmarks.

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