Kenya yet to use $60m US grant for urban mobility

Kenya is yet to tap into a $60 million grant from the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation ((MCC) in a deal that President William Ruto signed in New York on September 19, 2023.

The delay in implementing the projects under the MCC, which was initiated in 2019, could see the country fail to unlock more funds that come with timely utilisation of the grant meant to improve transport in Kenya’s cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The project dubbed the Kenya Urban Mobility and Growth Threshold Programme seeks to assist Kenya in addressing connectivity in urban areas, a critical constraint to inclusive economic growth.

“In 2019, Kenya was first selected for a threshold programme, and from that time until the signing there has been work behind the scenes to understand where the threshold programme would be best used,” said Chidi Blyden, Deputy chief executive at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

“So, what has come out of those conversations is that urban mobility and growth programmes would likely be the most useful given the size of Nairobi and most of the city’s growth in the countryside.” The programme will focus on the transportation needs of pedestrians and develop more visible transportation options for women; and provide financing support for the acquisition of climate-friendly buses for the emerging bus rapid transit (BRT) network.

The Kenyan grant has been termed the largest and most ambitious threshold agreement that MCC has signed in its 20-year history.

Ms Blyden who was in Nairobi after a meeting in Dar es Salaam said the process has been going on behind the scenes but not so much progress has been recorded. She blamed the slow implementation of the project to stringent MCC conditions.

“We have got gender inclusion, a lot of which is focused on education, rule of law, governance. We have three hurdles. One of which is that you have to pass 50 percent of the scorecard,” said Mr Blyden.

“Secondly, there is counter corruption and there has to be serious efforts towards that and the third is the rule of law.”

“We have three hurdles, one is that you have to pass 50 percent of the scorecard. Two there is counter corruption and there has to be serious prosperity towards that and the third is rule of law,” she said.

Source: The East African

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