DRC Gets US$ 74.69 Million Grant for Roads Rehabilitation

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Tunis, 29 December 2005 – The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has signed an agreement with the African Development Bank Group for a grant of 52.45 million Units of Account (UA*), about US$ 74.69 million to finance the Nsele-Lufimi and Kwango-Kenge Roads Rehabilitation Project.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the embassy of the DRC in Tunis, Mrs. Lukusa Kayembe N’Kaya Genevieve and the Bank Group’s Acting Vice President for West and Central Operations, Mr. Jaouad Mohammed Gharbi, signed the protocol agreement in Tunis on Thursday.

The project will help reduce the internal and external isolation of the DRC by re-establishing access to the major urban centers, densely populated areas, major economic activity centers and countries of the sub-region.

The project involves opening up the Bandundu, West Kasai and East Kasai Provinces as well as the City-Province of Kinshasa and improve the living conditions of the population, building of the technical and operational capacities of structures in charge of the road sub-sector; and  determination of the optimal solution for the improvement of the Loange-Mbuji Mayi road.

Mr. Gharbi said the project was in line with the poverty reduction strategy of the DRC and other areas for priority intervention identified by the Bank and the government for the period 2005-2007.

"In this regard, it forms part of the first pillar of the strategic axis of the Bank’s intervention which places emphasis on the removal of sectoral and environmental constraints through the rehabilitation and reconstruction of socio-economic infrastructure," he said.

Commenting on the agreement, Mrs. Lukusa said 80% of the road network to be rehabilitated with the Bank’s assistance had been degraded to the point where they were no longer usable as a result of a decade of socio-political crisis in the country.

"I am therefore very happy today that the African Development Bank, one of the key development partners of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has teamed up once more with other development partners for joint action to re-establish vehicular traffic on one of the major trunks of the National Road No.1 which links up the province of Bas-Congo with that of Katanga passing through the capital Kinshasa (8 million inhabitants) over a distance of 3,300 KM," she emphasized.

The operations of the ADB Group in the DRC started in 1973.  To date, the Group has committed 187.38 million UA (US$ 266.85 million) in 90 operations in the country. Of this amount, 77.88 million UA (about US$ 110.91 million) were in the form of grants.

* 1 UA = 1, 42414 US$ = 793.754 CFA as at 01/12/2005