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Bechtel and Kenyan government to discuss financing of $3bn highway project

Highway construction

American construction giant Bechtel is due to meet the Kenyan government as the two parties seek to find a financial solution to a massive highway project linking Nairobi and Mombasa.

Spanning 473km, the motorway project is estimated to be valued at around $3bn, but it is thought that Bechtel and the government have different ideas over how best to fund the construction.  

The former is pushing for Kenya to contract a loan, which it says will prove better value for money than the public-private partnership model being sought by the country’s governing authorities.

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Kenya wants Bechtel to source initial funding and claim it back through charging toll fees once the road is open. However, the US firm says that will cost Kenyan taxpayers $5bn over 25 years.

The two parties are due to meet next week and agree a framework in order to get the project moving once more.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said: “Bechtel team will be coming from 9th July to have a detailed discussion with us and other agencies. They have already done some work and we have agreed to continue that discussion.

“We will commence detailed discussion on how the financing approach will be undertaken under that project. We will be discussing modalities, financing structuring and the details for us to be clear on how to undertake this project.”

The expressway, comprising four lanes, will provide an uninterrupted connection between two of Kenya’s most economically important cities with a maximum speed of 120km/h.   

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