Eight Chinese, European consortiums bid for $1bn Kampala-Jinja road deal

Eight consortiums of mostly Chinese and European companies on Monday submitted bids for pre-qualification to construct the proposed 95km Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

The consortiums include KJ Connect, Vinci Concessions and Mota-Engil from France and Portugal; Strabag and IC Ictas from Austria and Turkey; Tecnasol Luisa Goncal from Portugal; China Communications Construction Company and China First Highway Engineering Company Ltd; and CCECL and CRCCIG from China.

Other bidders include Enkula Expressway from South Africa, Shapoorji Pacconji group from India, and the CCKS consortium comprising Chinese firms and South Korean firms.

The company or consortium selected by UNRA will design, build, partly finance, operate and maintain the project for 30 years.

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation is advising the Uganda National Roads Authority and the ministry of finance on the project, which will be developed under a Public Private Partnership.

The four-lane toll highway from Kampala to Jinja is expected to cost $1.1bn (approx Shs4 trillion). The government has already committed $400m while the preferred bidder will have to mobilise the rest.

However, an addendum to the pre-qualification document says the African Development Bank, Agence Francaise de Developpement, and the European Union are considering providing “funding support and credit enhancement towards the development” of the project’s first phase.

Allen Kagina, the executive director of the Uganda National Roads Authority.
Allen Kagina, the executive director of the Uganda National Roads Authority speaks after receiving pre-qualification applications from the bidders. Credit: Uganda Business News

Speaking at the unsealing of the bids yesterday, the Unra executive director Allen Kagina said public-private partnerships are expected to provide an opportunity for the government to form new partnerships and attract new forms of private capital into the country.

The 77km expressway will be constructed back to back with the Kampala Southern Bypass, an 18km stretch that will start at Butabika, in the south of Kampala. The bypass will connect to the Entebbe Expressway which is due for commissioning in November.

Read More: Entebbe expressway to open to traffic in November

According to Unra, the project will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, a 35km section of the expressway from Kampala to Namagunga in Buikwe district will be constructed alongside the 18km bypass.

In phase two the rest of the expressway, a 42km section between Namagunga and Jinja, where it’ll cut off at the cable bridge currently under construction, will be built.

The new road is expected to reduce the travel time between Kampala and Jinja to 70 minutes. Currently, the average time it takes to travel between the two towns is about two and a half hours.

Unra said the project will generate about 1,500 jobs during construction and 250 jobs after construction to operate and maintain the road. It is also expected to generate tax revenue of at least $300 million over the 30-year concession term.