Uganda signs Shs500b AfDB loan for Busega-Mpigi expressway

The finance ministry has signed two loan agreements with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance the construction of the 23.7 kilometre Busega-Mpigi Expressway project and rehabilitation of its auxiliary road – the Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo road (208 kilometres) to Rwanda.

The loans – worth $151m (Shs535 billion), according to the secretary to the treasury and permanent secretary in the finance ministry, Keith Muhakanizi – carry a 0.5% surcharge per annum for delays to absorb the money and are to be paid back in 40 years’ time.

The signing of the loans was this morning at the finance ministry headquarters, and was attended by the AfDB’s director general for East Africa, Gabriel Negatu, finance minister Matia Kasaija, Uganda National Road Authority (Unra) executive director Allen Kagina, and works and transport minister, Monica Azuba-Ntege.

The proposed Busega-Mpigi Expressway is one of the planned major thoroughfares that Unra believes will move traffic out of the heavily congested and polluted capital, Kampala.

The highway will be built as a four-lane dual carriage way at a cost of $91 million (Shs322b) from the AfDB. This will also include costs for design reviews, financial and technical audits, studies and quality assurance services.

The road will include four major interchanges to facilitate interconnections with roads at designated points: at Nabbingo, Nsangi, Maya, and Lugala, all in Wakiso district off the Northern Bypass and the Entebbe-Expressway whose expansion and construction respectively is ongoing.

The road is part of the Northern Corridor, a transport network of East Africa’s landlocked states – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan – which connects to Kenya’s Mombasa port.

Mr Negatu said the road is very “important” in Uganda’s trade with its neighbours which explains the rationale of expanding it to Rwanda.

The Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo road through Mirama hills at the Uganda-Rwanda border will cost $60m (Shs212b) from the AfDB’s Africa Development Fund.

Matia Kasaija, the finance minister, said the road is in line with the Uganda Vision 2040, the second National Development Plan and the Transport strategy of the East African Community, which supports development of infrastructure that has an impact on regional integration.

“The expected benefits include improved economic and social welfare of persons in the zone of influence of the road corridor, enhanced trade and reduction of transport costs within Uganda and Rwanda.”

Unra officials said that the resettlement action process for the projects is ongoing.