AfDB Approves US$70M Loan for Road Devt in Ebonyi

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Bennett Oghifo

The African Development Bank Group has approved a US$70 million loan for a road project in Ebonyi State, a statement by the bank’s officials has said.

The Bank will provide US$40 million, while its co-financier, the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), will contribute US$30 million. The Islamic Development Bank is also providing Nigeria a loan of US$80 million, while the Ebonyi State Government will provide US$17.60 million, for a total project cost of US$167.60 million.

The statement said the Bank Group’s funding would cover the rehabilitation and asphalting of a 51 km stretch between Nwezenvi and N’Doko, and part of the corridor between N’Doko and Ezzamgbo spanning 38.91 km. It is expected to be completed in five years.

The project will aid Ebonyi’s aspiration to develop special agro-industrial zones dedicated to processing of subsistence crops. It will improve road safety and accessibility of farming communities and small-scale industrial areas. Some 1,400 jobs will be created during the construction phase, the statement said.

Once completed, the road network, which will cover a total 177.81 km, is expected to serve also as an international link between Ebonyi State and Nigeria’s eastern neighbour, Cameroun, in addition to connecting Ebonyi to Benue and Enugu.

In line with its High 5s priorities, the project attests to the African Development Bank’s commitment to improve the quality of life of Africans by improving accessibility and road safety in its member countries.

The Bank began financing transport projects in Nigeria in 1972 and has since provided the equivalent of US$630 million in financing the sector, including a US$69.9 million facility through the private sector.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Bank for its successes and pledged Nigeria’s continuous support for the institution. “I want to recognise the support that the African Development Bank has given Nigeria in recent times. I remember the Bank’s critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through a US$600 million budget support facility. We appreciate this and assure you that we will continue to work towards a diversified Nigeria,” President Buhari said at the meeting with Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, which was attended by some ministers and senior government officials.

President Buhari commended the Bank’s interventions in infrastructure and agriculture, and encouraged the institution to keep supporting countries like Nigeria to grow agriculture as a business through the promotion of agro-industrial zones in the country.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina thanked President Buhari for his support to the Bank and pledged the Bank’s commitment to fast track Africa’s development.

Adesina also highlighted several reforms at the Bank and strategic efforts to move the Bank’s operations closer to countries.

“The African Development Bank’s robust operations in Nigeria have had significant results and impacts on the ground, and continue to accelerate the country’s economic transformation as well as improve the lives of millions.”

At the end of March 2019, the Bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprises 60 operations with total commitments of US$4.5 billion. These include 28 public sector operations with total commitments of US$1.7 billion (21 national and 7 regional); 34 non-sovereign operations with total commitments of US$2.8 billion.

Following Nigeria’s request to the African Development Bank, Adesina reported that the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has accepted to co-chair a multi-billion fund-raising session to revive the Lake Chad – a strategic effort that has major climate, economic, agricultural and employment implications for the region.