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Panel Issues Notice of Non-Registration in Kenya Transport Case

The Inspection Panel on April 13, 2022, issued a Notice of Non-Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Kenya Transport Sector Support Project and its additional financing, which closed on December 31, 2019.

The Request was submitted on March 3, 2022, by Emonyo Yefwe International, a local non-governmental organization, and signed by 13 people who live near the Webuye interchange in the project area. This is the second Request the Panel has received related to the project.

The first Request, received in December 2018, raised concern, in part, about the livelihood impact on a group of mobile traders who were active in the area but not identified in the project’s original Resettlement Action Plan. In response to the complaint, Bank management in April 2020 told the Panel that the Bungoma County Government had identified a suitable parcel of land close to the Webuye interchange that would be used as a marketplace to house the mobile traders, and that the county government had fully paid for and finalized the land title deed on March 4, 2020. A marketplace was to be built on the land, and stalls and kiosks would be assigned to mobile traders. Based on the commitments made to address the Requesters’ concerns, including the acquisition of land in close proximity to the Webuye interchange to build the market for the mobile traders, the Panel did not recommend an investigation of the project at that time.

In the second complaint, the Requesters stated that to date the work to construct the marketplace has not started. They asked for the “construction to begin immediately”, that threats against them be stopped, and that the World Bank convene a meeting between mobile traders and the Bungoma County Government.

Responding to the Notice of Receipt of the second Request, Bank Management informed the Panel that the construction of the market is still being pursued. According to management, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of the market could not start and the activity was delayed. Management added that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shifting of budgetary priorities to address the pandemic, and as a result the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) was not able to obtain the appropriate budget allocation for the market. This process has now re-started with bidding expected to commence soon. According to management, KeNHA and Bungoma County officials have decided on the design for the market and have initiated stakeholder consultations.

The Panel reviewed the Request for Inspection in accordance with its mandate and operating procedures and given the Project closed on December 31, 2019, the Panel did not register the Request. Under the updated Inspection Panel resolution, Requests for Inspection of projects approved by the Board of Executive Directors before September 8, 2020, must be submitted before the closing date of the loan financing the project or before the loan financing the project has been substantially disbursed. More