October 23, 2018
New Bridge over the Nile River
On October 17, a grand commissioning ceremony was held in Jinja, Republic of Uganda, for the “Source of the Nile Bridge” constructed under the Construction of a New Bridge Across River Nile at Jinja Project, which was been supported with Japanese ODA loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Some 3000 people attended the ceremony, including dignitaries from the Government of Uganda such as H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; and dignitaries from Japan such as the Hon. Masahisa Sato, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; H.E. Kazuaki Kameda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Uganda; and Mr. Yutaka Fukase, Chief Representative of the JICA Uganda Office. A lighting ceremony was also held in the evening, bathing the bridge in illumination.
Under the project, a new bridge was constructed across the Nile River with access roads and other facilities in Jinja District approximately 80 kilometers east of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The bridge is located along the Northern Corridor, which links East Africa to the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. The objectives of the project were to ensure traffic safety and boost the transportation capacity of the East African Northern Corridor in Uganda. There has been much attention on the project in Uganda, where the bridge is viewed as a symbol of economic growth.
Since its construction in 1954, the Nalubaale Bridge has provided passage over the Nile River in Jinja District. Serving also as the dam for a hydroelectric power plant, the Nalubaale Bridge has been a lifeline for Uganda in terms of transportation, the flow of goods and power, but its narrow width provided only one lane in each direction and the condition had deteriorated to the point of hindering a safe, efficient traffic flow in recent years. As the traffic volume is predicted to increase between the Port of Mombasa and Kampala, the construction of a new bridge was a priority. Given these circumstances, the Government of Uganda requested support, and JICA signed a loan agreement with the Government of Uganda in November 2010  and has supported the construction of the new bridge, access roads and other facilities as the first independent Japanese ODA loan project in Uganda. Construction supervision of the project was provided by a joint venture of Oriental Consultants Co., Ltd., Eight-Japan Engineering Consultants Inc and Pyunghwa Engineering Consultants Ltd., and the construction was carried out by a joint venture of The Zenitaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd., commencing in April 2014 and concluding after four and a half years.
At the commissioning ceremony, H.E. President Museveni noted that no fatal accidents occurred during the bridge construction, and expressed his gratitude for the major contribution of the project to local employment as approximately 90 percent of the workers were Ugandan, and for the effects of the transfer technology to local people working in architecture and civil engineering.
The Hon. Sato said that the completion of the bridge will enable a stable and efficient flow of goods in East African countries such as Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and he expressed his expectation that the economies of these countries will benefit greatly in the form of development.
In relation to the project, Mr. Fukase mentioned that JICA contributed to the feasibility study, financial cooperation and technical cooperation to officials in the Government of Uganda. He also touched on how the emphasis on safety, the environment and social concerns was a reflection of the construction philosophy in Japan which also resulted in the delivery of a high-quality project.
Prior to the commissioning ceremony, the JICA Uganda Office held a children’s painting contest with the theme of “Your dream bridge” to celebrate the completion of the bridge construction. The JICA office asked the public to submit pictures and received about 130 works, including many from three primary schools where Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers are dispatched. The works demonstrated the wonderful imagination of the children, with some envisioning the Source of the Nile Bridge in various colors, and others depicting fantasy bridges. The works will be exhibited at the JICA Uganda Office and other locations.
1: In November 2010, JICA and the Government of Uganda signed an ODA loan agreement for up to 9.198 billion yen, and in April 2018 signed an amendment for an additional ODA loan for up to 4.918 billion yen, a total of 14.116 billion yen in Japanese ODA support for this project.