President Uhuru Kenyatta and his France counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday night witnessed the signing of the public private partnership for the construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway.
The deal was signed between KeNHA and Vinci Concessions. State House in a statement on Thursday said it is one of the largest PPP projects in Eastern Africa.
Uhuru arrived in France on Tuesday evening and was on Wednesday evening received at Elysee Palace, the President’s official residence.
Upon his arrival at the Palace shortly after 9pm local time, President Kenyatta inspected a guard of honour mounted by the French military at the start of an elaborate State reception ceremony and the two leaders retreated for private talks.
Other deals signed were the development of the Nairobi Central Business District to JKIA commuter railway line and the 400KV Menengai-Rongai electricity transmission line.
In an interview with PSCU ahead of Uhuru’s arrival in Paris, Kenya’s ambassador to France Professor Judi Wakhungu said the visit is a continuation of the historical bilateral ties that have existed between Kenya and France for over half a century.
The envoy said the President’s visit will help to strengthen people-to-people and commercial ties between the two nations, noting that over 100 French companies operate in Kenya.
“The largest component of our relationship is actually education. We have had Kenyan students in France for many years, we have also had French researchers in Kenya for very many years,” Prof Wakhungu said.
“When it comes to investment and the private sector, we have over 100 French companies operating in Kenya,” she added.
Prof Wakhungu said Uhuru’s visit follows President Macron’s historic visit to Nairobi in March last year, the first such visit by a serving French Head of State.
She said the Nairobi CBD to JKIA commuter rail link will help enhance movement of travellers between the city centre and Kenya’s foremost international airport.
“Our aspiration is to see that this commuter railway line eases traffic in Nairobi but also eases the movement of people within Nairobi. We hope that along the route and the surrounding areas, other businesses will be able to grow,” Prof Wakhungu said.
On the the construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit six-lane dual carriageway, the ambassador said the mega project will help decongest the existing highway and enhance efficiency of cargo transport to Western Kenya and onwards into the export markets of East and Central Africa.
“We hope that extending this highway which is going to be about 200km, again, it will ease traffic on that particular very, very important route. I need not remind Kenyans that this is a major highway that connects Mombasa, Nairobi and all the way to Uganda, Rwanda and other parts of Central Africa,” she said.
President Kenyatta is on Thursday expected to deliver the key note address at the BPI France Inno Generation 2020 business forum, the European country’s largest international innovation and entrepreneurship extravaganza.
On Friday, he will preside over the Kenya-France business forum organized by the French Business Confederation (Movement Des Entreprises De France (MEDEF)).
The meeting will bring together investors from the Kenya and France to discuss investment opportunities in Nairobi as well as explore avenues for increasing Kenyan exports into the lucrative French market.
President Kenyatta is accompanied on his France visit by Cabinet secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Ukur Yatani (Treasury), James Macharia (Infrastructure) and Betty Maina (Trade).