Chinese contractors firmed their control of Kenya's public infrastructure after receiving the bulk of the World Bank-funded projects.
A sample of recent Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) road projects worth Ksh71.9 billion ($624 million) funded by the multilateral lender and the government are all being constructed by Chinese contractors.
China Wu Yi is constructing James Gichuru Road/ Waiyaki Way Jn – Rironi, a Ksh16.3 billion ($143.4 million) project comprising 26 kilometres of the main road and 17.5 kilometres of collector roads.
China Railway No.5 Engineering Group is upgrading of Nakodok/Nadapal- Kalobeyei and Lodwar –Loichangamatak sections while China Railway No.10 Engineering Group is dualling Kisumu Boys– Mamboleo.
China Railway 21st Bureau Group is doing the Ksh5 billion ($43.99 million) Athi-River-Machakos, Jiangzi Zhongmei is constructing Kakamega-Webuye roads and China National Aero Technology Engineering Corporation is doing the Headquarters Complex for Road sub-sector Institutions.
China State Engineering Corporation Limited is upgrading the 40-kilometre Lokichar-Loichangamatak while the Third Engineering Bureau of China City Construction Group is doing the 80-kilometre Lokitaung- Lodwar section and Chongqing International Construction Corporation will do the Kalobeyei – Lokitaung.
China Henan International Cooperation Group is replacing the Kainuk Bridge and constructing three kilometre of approach roads and Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd is completing Ahero and Kericho Interchanges.
The World Bank said it does not give generalised comments with respect to individual contract awards under Bank-financed operations.
It indicated this is just a small sample given it has ongoing operations in Kenya of $6.58 billion (Sh746.8 billion) under implementation.
The domination of World Bank road tenders, however shows the Chinese contractors may be very competitive as compared to their western peers and disputes the assumption that they use underhand deals to capture road tenders.
The World Bank has a robust operational and contractual framework for procurement including procurement regulations that are monitored closely by the Board of Executive Directors representing all shareholders.
All tenders funded by the multilateral lender are assessed based on core principles of value for money, economy, integrity, fit for purpose, efficiency, transparency and fairness.
“These regulations... are designed to ensure the Bank financing is used for intended purposes with due attention to considerations of economy and efficiency and without regard to political or other non-economic influences or considerations,” The World Bank said.