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South Sudan, Kenya Plan $1 Billion Upgrade of International Road

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, and neighboring South Sudan will upgrade a 960-kilometer (597-mile) road connecting the two nations to boost trade, Kenyan Roads Minister Franklin Bett said.

The route linking the western Kenyan town of Eldoret with South Sudan’s capital, Juba, will be upgraded to international standards, he said at a conference in Nairobi today. The World Bank will coordinate syndicated loans for the project, which will cost $1 billion, according to a statement from Bett and Gier Aluong, his South Sudanese counterpart, published in the Daily Nation newspaper.

The East African countries are developing road, rail and pipeline links to boost trade in the region. Last year, Kenya and South Sudan agreed to build a 2,000-kilometer pipeline to the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu. In March, construction began on a deepwater port that will serve Kenya’s underdeveloped north, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.

South Sudan plans to build almost 5,000 kilometers of roads over 10 years at a cost of $6.6 billion, Aluong said in a statement handed to reporters in Nairobi.

The majority of South Sudan’s 7,000 kilometers of roads are unpaved and in disrepair, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. South Sudan became Africa’s newest nation when it seceded from Sudan in July 2011.

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