AfDB funds $217m road, agric projects in Uganda, Malawi

Tuni— The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $144.89m loan in support of the Uganda road sector.
Grader opens a road in rural Uganda. AfDB is funding a road improvement project in the country. Net photo.
Grader opens a road in rural Uganda. AfDB is funding a road improvement project in the country. Net photo.

Tuni— The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $144.89m loan in support of the Uganda road sector.

“The road sector support project was financed by the African Development Fund (ADF) to the tune of $110.49m, with a contribution from the Ugandan government amounting to $34.40m. The project will help improve road access to socio-economic infrastructure as well as the quality of road transport services to the western regions of the country by paving 135km of the Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kabwoya road,” AfDB said in a statement. 

The loan was approved on Wednesday, March 13.

The project is expected to reduce transportation costs, improve access to social and economic infrastructure and increase mobility, thus contributing to upgrading the standards of living of the populations through better transport services and increased access to markets. Some 870,000 people will benefit from the project which aims to create about 1,200 jobs, of which 80 per cent will be reserved for local communities.

The project includes civil engineering works, the study and strengthening of the road sub-sector, as well as the compensation and relocation of people affected by the project.

The bank’s intervention is in keeping with the country’s aspirations to enhance road transportation in line with the engagement of other development partners in the sub-region.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank has also approved grants and loans amounting to $73m to finance irrigation and road rehabilitation projects in Malawi.

The grants, totalling $39.98m from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) and the African Development Fund (ADF), will be used to finance the Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP). A total of $39.6m will come from the GAFSP multi-donor trust fund, while the ADF will provide a grant of $0.38m.  

The project aims to contribute to food security, increased income levels and poverty reduction and the specific objectives are to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition and capacity building. SIVAP will benefit 11,400 farming families of which over 50 per cent are headed by women, the bank said in a statement.

A total of about 450,000 people will indirectly benefit from project activities through enhanced crop production, diversification and developing high value-chains.

The project will ensure ownership by the beneficiaries through participation in supervision, monitoring, evaluation, afforestation activities, matching grant arrangement for equipment, and training. The emphasis on expanding irrigation capacity will support Government efforts in achieving the objective of enabling farmers to plant at two crops per year.

The AfDB also provided a concessional loan of $33.2m to finance the rehabilitation of the road between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay. The Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road is one of the major trunk roads prioritised in the government’s road sector programme, as it is part of the road network that links the northern region of the country to the central and southern regions.

The road, once rehabilitated, will support economic growth sectors in the northern region and is expected to benefit an estimated 342,211 people living in the two districts, by improving access to markets, schools, and health centres and other social-economic centres.

In addition to the above, the road is located on the Mtwara Development Corridor and therefore serves international freight traffic from Zambia and Tanzania. It is an important road link, not only for domestic connectivity, but also for regional trade and integration.

The AfDB is committed to supporting the Malawi government in its efforts to achieve inclusive economic growth and reducing poverty.

The funds will support government’s efforts towards the achievement of goals and targets of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, consistent with the bank’s country strategy for 2013 to 2017.

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