Tuesday, September 29, 2020 – President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to leave the country for Paris on Wednesday, for the first time since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

During his trip, the Head of State is expected to sign a public-private partnership (PPP) deal worth Ksh 180 billion for the dualling of the Rironi-Nakuru-Mau summit road; a 190 kilometers stretch.

Kenyatta will meet up with President Emmanuel Macron at Elysee Palace in Paris, where he will actualize the deal.

The road will reduce travel time for both people and goods and at the same time complement the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) between Naivasha and Malaba border.

After a battle by French firms to clinch the Ksh 180 billion deal last year, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) awarded the tender to French Firm Meridiam International.

Others in the consortium include; Vinci Highways SAS and Vinci Concessions SAS.

The project will involve the expansion of the 180-kilometer road into a four-lane dual carriageway from Rironi in Limuru to Mau Summit in Nakuru County.

Additionally, the work will involve the rehabilitation of the Mai Mahiu-Naivasha Road and the erection of toll stations on the highway under a Public-Private Partnership.

“The contractor will be expected to build, maintain, manage and operate the highway and recover his money from motorists in the form of user fees,” KenHA director-general Peter Mundinia stated in an interview last year.

Transport CS James Macharia earlier stated that the cabinet’s precedence would be to have two PPP’s projects to ease traffic for motorists plying between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Westlands, and those who use the Nairobi-Naivasha-Nakuru highway.

“We decided to give priority to two Public-Private Partnership projects,” Macharia stated.

Kenyatta’s visit follows the resumption of air travel on July 15, 2020, after flights were grounded in March when the country recorded its first positive case.

While the President will be away, it is not clear who will be in charge of the country considering his severed relationship with his Deputy, William Ruto.

It is rumored that Uhuru will task his newfound handshake friend Raila Odinga to take charge in his absence.


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