Kenya is seeking funding from Chinese investors for its 184 billion shillings ($1.29 billion) Mau Summit Highway, one of the country’s biggest road projects, after talks with French investors failed.

President William Ruto and other senior officials told a Chinese delegation that the dualling of the 233-kilometre highway was one of the pending infrastructure projects up for grabs, Business Daily Newspaper reported.

A French consortium had won the tender, but the project has been put on hold due to the high cost.

Roads Transport Principal Secretary Joseph Mbugua said that the government is negotiating with the contractors and financiers, which may delay the project’s roll-out, which has drawn financiers such as the World Bank and the African Development Fund.

The Kenyan government initiated bilateral talks with its Chinese counterpart on completing various pending road projects, including widening the 175-kilometre four-lane dual carriageway.

“We are ready to expedite discussions and conclude on details on the proposed projects for implementation,” Ruto told a high-level meeting with a Chinese official.

The president said these projects could be pursued under public-private partnerships or government-to-government.

“China will consider the Kenya government’s priority areas of interest,” said Wang Yi, Director of the Office of Central Committee of Foreign Affairs.     

(Editing by Brinda Darasha;