Kenya awards €1.3b Highway PPP contract to French consortium
Kenya has signed an agreement with a consortium comprising French companies VINCI Highways (Lead Member), VINCI Concessions, and Meridiam SAS for the development of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway project.
Kenya signed the agreement through its Public Private Partnership (PPP) Unit and the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA). The consortium, known as the Rift Valley Highway, will finance, design, widen, upgrade, operate and maintain the road corridor of the new 175-km Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway for a period of 30 years.
The agreement was signed in Paris on Wednesday 30 September 2020 at a ceremony witnessed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The agreement will become effective following the completion of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment that is compliant with World Bank standards. The financial close of the project is expected to occur by the end of 2021, according to a statement by the VINCI group.
The project, worth about €1.3 billion, will transform the existing trunk road into a 175-kilometer dual two-lane motorway, expanding the two-lane Nairobi to Mau Summit highway into a 4-lane dual carriageway. The project will also involve widening the existing Rironi-Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides, construction of a 4km elevated highway through Nakuru town, and construction and improvement of interchanges along the highway.
The construction works are scheduled to last 42 months, and will be carried out by a consortium comprising VINCI Construction subsidiaries - Sogea-Satom, which is locally based in Kenya and VINCI Construction Terrassement, which specialises in large infrastructure projects. VINCI Highways, a subsidiary of VINCI Concessions, will apply its technical and operational expertise to implement new traffic management patterns, deploy advanced equipment and maintenance plans and train local employees.
The consortium will recoup its investment using the revenues and income generated by electronic toll collection system along the 233km road on completion of the project. Under the terms of the availability payment based PPP, the consortium is not bearing traffic risk. Rift Valley Highway's income will be based on availability and quality criteria.
In a press release, the VINCI group stated "In one of the strongest economies in Sub Saharan Africa, this highway will improve the road safety and reduce travel time on this strategic axis between Kenya’s capital city Nairobi, Nakuru and Mau Summit. Crossing along the Rift valley, the highway will also serve as a gateway to touristic development."
It is the first PPP project won by VINCI Concessions in Africa. Meridiam has been operating in Kenya since 2016.
Photo: View of a busy highway in Nairobi (Martin Mwaura / Dreamstime)