M-Pesa can speed up Nairobi Expressway

In Summary

• American highways film cars and automatically charge their credit cards.

• M-Pesa could allow cars to drive through without stopping on the Expressway.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday launched the JKIA-Westlands Expressway costing US$509 million (Sh53 billion ). 

China is providing a long-term loan but China Road and Bridge Corporation will manage the investment and recover the costs through operating toll booths at eight points over 10 years.

Traffic analysis indicates that the concessionaire should be able to break even after eight years.


Many countries operate toll roads but Kenya has not yet managed to do so for a sustained period.

There is huge potential demand for the Expressway, especially as the toll will mostly be between Sh50 and Sh150, affordable for many commuters.

This road is expensive but it can potentially be a great success. However, it will be important to automate revenue collection to prevent tailbacks at toll booths. On American toll roads, cameras automatically identify cars and charge their tolls on their credit cards without requiring them to stop.

Kenya is a world leader in mobile money. An M-Pesa system should be created here so that cars can pay and drive through toll booths without stopping on the Expressway.

Quote of the day: "Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century."

S J Perelman

The American humorist died on October 17, 1979