The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Kenya’s President William Ruto, met in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss how to strengthen the partnership between the EU and Kenya. They also discussed opportunities to drive the green and digital transitions in Kenya under Global Gateway.
As a concrete deliverable on the sidelines of the meeting, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and Kipchumba Murkomen, the CS for Transport Cooperation, signed a declaration of intention to finance the electric bus line “Nairobi Core Bus Rapid Transit Line 3” (BRT 3) for a total amount of €347.6 million (about $379 million), including €45 million ($49.05 million) in grants from the EU budget. By supporting the implementation of a safe, clean, high quality and efficient public transport system in Nairobi, Team Europe is the key partner in Kenya’s green transition.
(TOP: Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and the CS for Transport Cooperation Kipchumba Murkomen during the signing ceremony for Europe’s intention to finance the electric bus line – ‘Nairobi Core Bus Rapid Transit Line’ – for a total amount of €347.6 million. Looking on is President William Ruto).
The EU is providing €45 million in grants, while the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency AFD jointly support the projects with €236.3 million. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the EU, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will also provide technical assistance to the project’s implementation. Similarly, the Kenyan Government is contributing €66.3 million.
The BRT line 3 project is a key deliverable of the Mombasa-Kisangani strategic corridors, which is a priority in the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package. The line will be the first dedicated electric bus rapid lane in East Africa and is part of a system of five rapid bus lines to be developed in the Kenyan capital. The BRT Line is fully designed by European expertise and funded by a consortium of Team Europe partners and has a strong focus on the highest social and environmental standards. The BRT Line 3 is expected to be operational in 2030.
Thomas Östros, the VP of the European Investment Bank, said that EIB welcomed the milestone agreement with President Ruto and looks forward to finalizing its €201 million support for the visionary Nairobi BRT scheme through EIB Global. This will represent the EIB’s largest ever support for sustainable urban transport in East Africa and will enable millions of people living in Kenya’s capital to access safe and green transport for years to come.”
Strong focus on sustainability
Promoting mass rapid transit will help cut commuting time, curb pollution, reduce traffic accidents and increase travelers’ safety. Buses will run on green renewable electricity produced in Kenya. The project will address affordable fare setting and inclusion of access to the public transport system for youth, women, low-income households and people living with disabilities.
The transformative electric BRT line 3 will transport up to 300,000 daily commuters through the most congested areas of Nairobi in an efficient and safe manner. There will be a bus every 3 minutes during peak hours.
Nairobi has grown exponentially, but yet its public transport has not grown at the same rate. Over the last 10 years, EU has worked with the Kenyan government by offering technical assistance to the Kenyan transport sector. One of the outcomes is the creation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (NaMATA), as a government body. NaMATA will be the institutional counterpart to run this BRT 3 operation with the EU. With the EU/Team Europe technical assistance, the Government initiated conversations with the matatu sector (the informal bus system) to embrace the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
Today’s signature takes place a month after the first EU-Kenya Business Forum (21-22 February) and the EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue (22 February), both held in Nairobi, where both sides confirmed the objective to strengthen the partnership between the EU and Kenya under Global Gateway, which is contributing to boost sustainable investments fully in line with the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
“Kenya is a good partner for the EU in Africa. The EU and Kenya are jointly tackling some of today’s biggest global challenges such as the fight against climate change and we are close allies when it comes to defending the international rules based order. The EU strongly appreciates Kenya’s support to the freedom and independence of the Ukrainian people,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “Very pleased about today’s signature with an important and likeminded partner for a safer, greener and more affordable electric bus system. This is an important milestone in our partnership with Kenya to invest in green and sustainable mobility. The project is a tangible deliverable of our positive and sustainable offer to partners, the Global Gateway strategy and it’s transformative impact in Africa. Better transport will give people more possibilities to go to school and to work, widening opportunities for citizens.”
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “The European Investment Bank welcomes today’s milestone agreement with President Ruto and looks forward to finalizing €201 million support for the visionary Nairobi BRT scheme through EIB Global. This will represent the EIB’s largest ever support for sustainable urban transport in East Africa and will enable millions of people living in Kenya’s capital to access safe and green transport for years to come.”
Thomas Östros, the VP of the European Investment Bank, said: “AFD is very pleased to be part of this Team Europe initiative and to actively contribute to the preparation of this important project for Nairobi and Kenya. AFD wishes to focus particularly on the development of sound and sustainable operations for this new mass-transit system, and on institutional strengthening and capacity building of our partner, NAMATA.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the EU owned by its Member States. It is also the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance. EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. Its activities focus on the following priority areas: Climate and Environment, Development, Innovation and Skills, Small and Medium Sized Businesses, Infrastructure and Cohesion.