Building Kenya’s future through PPPs
It is clear that with an economy growing at close to 6 percent annually since 2004, Kenya desperately needs to accelerate infrastructure development. With bottlenecks building up in just about every sector, the situation is dire. The Uhuru Kenyatta’s government two weeks ago released another among many of its master plan for the acceleration and expansion of Kenya’s economic development which called for the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International airport, construction of coastal town of Lamu Port expected to serve Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, railway line and highways extending to South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda to boost growth in local and regional economies across the country and East African countries through to 2018. Nairobi estimated spending $40 billion to build the required infrastructure, with public-private partnerships seen making up 60 percent of the total spending. Although this has not happened as planned before there is hope this time round things will work out with PPPs gaining favour in other regional economies like Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.A recent study titled; “Strategic partnerships: Preparing and Accelerating Public-Private Partnerships in Sub Saharan Africa,” by a South Africa’s based think tank said that Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria could become major PPP markets.
However, these countries, the report states, will have to convince institutional investors that their PPPs are rock-solid and underpinned by a long-term strategy and public-sector commitment. Last month Kenya launched an initiative under which the country’s roads would now be built dubbed the Annuity Financing Mechanism for Roads Development expected provide a sustainable means of funding for road projects. It is crucial, therefore, that the government puts its weight behind such projects and even bankrolls the first few.If Kenya does not act quickly and with a sense of urgency, it will be left behind by the likes of the Tanzania and even Uganda, which are investing heavily in infrastructure.In Uganda, the ongoing construction of Kampala – Entebbe motorway is a prime example why Kenya must pull up its socks. PPPs are a viable model to build up infrastructure that can be effectively applied to Kenya. Progress has been made in the past few years with better coordination between the development and planning agencies according to a world bank report released last year and the passage of the new Land Laws will also play a big role.However, both plans needs to be built upon.