Plans to reduce traffic congestion in Kampala and ease the strain on its road infrastructure were boosted when President Yoweri Museveni’s flagged off the construction of the city's first flyover.
It will feed traffic into ongoing transport related projects within and outside the city, like the Busega-Mpigi Express Way and the Kampala-Jinja Express Way.
The projects, which will cost the country more than $3 billion, are expected to be completed in 2022.
Works and Transport Minister Monica Azuba said that the 3.5km flyover “will create an urban freeway bypassing the city centre,” to enhance transit in the country’s eastern and western corridor, the former being particularly important as it links the country and its landlocked neighbours to the Port of Mombasa in Kenya.
The flyover project will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, following a September 2015, $180 million loan agreement signed between the two countries in Tokyo.
It is the largest loan extended by Japan to Uganda.
The loan will be paid back at an annual interest rate of 0.01 per cent with a repayment period of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.
The loan also shows Uganda’s shift from borrowing for major infrastructure projects from the West to the East, with China being a major lender.
However, government has been reluctant to address concerns by critics on the deeper debt hole it is likely to dig itself into. Uganda's domestic and external debt hit Ush41.3 trillion ($11.2 billion) in October, according to the Finance Ministry.
The project brings the number of major Japanese funded projects in Uganda to two, after the Ush390 billion ($105 million) funding of the Nile Bridge in Jinja, although several other minor projects like city roundabouts and roads have also been financed by Japan.