Transport and ICT projects financed by the AfDB in 2015 to create thousands of jobs, increase mobility and improve the lives of millions

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The impacts arising from investments made by the African Development Bank Group in 2015 will collectively improve mobility of at least 1.2 million users of public transport, result in employment generation of about 200,000 jobs in the ITC sector and benefit almost 18 million people from improvements in road infrastructure. These are the findings of the AfDB’s 2015 Annual Report on Transport and Information and communications technology (ICT) released July 1, 2016.

“The expected impacts over the next few years in integrating Africa, boosting agriculture, and facilitating industrialization will be tremendous,” noted Amadou Oumarou, AfDB Director for the Transport and ICT Infrastructure.

The report sharply highlights the Bank’s continued support for the development of efficient transportation and telecommunication infrastructure to promote regional integration, support agriculture development, and facilitate the industrialization of Africa. The publication underscores the Bank’s multi-faceted financing and advisory services in support of Africa’s development.  

According to the report, the contribution of transport and ICT as enablers of economic development cannot be overstated. Efficient transport and ICT systems minimize transaction costs, transit times and uncertainties and can facilitate the participation of African countries in agriculture and manufacturing value chains. In addition, transport contribute to improving livelihoods and inclusiveness by providing access to social services and job opportunities. Similarly, investment in ICT support spinoffs in information access, innovation, skills, and job creation. 

During the course of 2015, the Bank invested in a total of 17 transport and ICT operations for a value of US $2 billion. Lending was 50% above target mainly due to increased access by African Development Fund (ADF) countries to African Development Bank financing instruments and greater leverage of co-financing facilities such as the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF). Roads and highway corridors represented the largest share of the lending. However, the portfolio is gradually being diversified with increased share of investments in other transport modes particularly urban transport, aviation and ports which collectively accounted for at least 30% of total lending.

Investments in regional transport infrastructure continued to feature strongly in the Bank lending, with regional highways linking Brazzaville (Congo) and Yaoundé (Cameroon), and Bamako (Mali) and the port of San Pedro (Côte d’Ivoire) as typical examples of cross-border corridors to promote regional integration and intra-African trade. Additional support to regional integration included the financing of the Central Africa Fiber Optic backbone project and a US $12-million grant to support the Economic Community of Central African States and the Economic Community of West African States to improve regional air transport safety and security in West and Central Africa.

The financing of the Bus Rapid Transit Project in Tanzania re-affirmed the Bank’s involvement in developing sustainable cities and improving the quality of life of people. The project will not only reduce urban congestion and increase mobility and accessibility for city-dwellers but also promote green growth and improve quality of health resulting from reduced emissions.

The US $127 million lending provided for the Nador West Med Port Project in Morocco and the $140-million Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Development project in Egypt strongly signalled Bank’s support for the continent’s industrialisation. The investments are expected to support growth of efficient global value chains and promote competiveness of the countries’ economies.

In support of agriculture, investments in the Tanzania Transport Support Program and Project to Rehabilitate the National Road N°2 and facilitate access to Morphil Island in Senegal aim to provide a catalytic effect in unlocking the agriculture potential of the regions. The road improvements will support efficient movement of agriculture commodities and contribute to reduced post-harvest losses.

The year’s impressive lending added to the Bank’s growing active transport and ICT project portfolio. There are currently 114 transport and ICT projects under implementation in 44 countries valued at more than US $11 billion.

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