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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a Unit of Account (UA) 70 million (about $109 million) loan to the Government of Uganda to finance the Road Sector Support Project V to support the realization of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Vision 2040 of Uganda.
The project’s objective is to improve road access to socio-economic facilities and quality of transport service levels in south-western and eastern parts of Uganda by upgrading the Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha/Kanungu and Bumbobi-Lwakhakha roads from gravel to bitumen standard. It will help to improve standards of living of the beneficiaries, support the tourism industry and promote regional integration and cross border trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya. The combined total population of the four project districts is estimated to the tune of one million people.
The expected project outcomes are reduction in transport costs; increased mobility; improved access to economic and social facilities; provision of clean water to households; and increase in income of women vendors in the roadside markets.
Presenting the project to the Board, the director of the Department for Transport and Information and Communication Technologies at the AfDB, Amadou Oumarou said: “With this project, the African Development Bank is addressing a pressing demand for the provision of good quality and reliable transport infrastructure needed by Uganda for its socio-economic development and poverty reduction agenda.”
The upgraded roads will also support cross border trade and regional integration by linking western Uganda with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and eastern Uganda with Kenya at the border of Ishasha and Lwakhakha respectively. The roads will also support the tourism activities at Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) and Mount Elgon National Parks.
The project conforms to the key development policies of the AfDB and its assistance strategy to Uganda. It is in line with the AfDB’s 2011-2015 Results Based Country Strategy Paper (CSP) that focuses on infrastructure for development and increased agriculture productivity. The CSP is closely aligned to the NDP that includes infrastructure as one of the five pillars. This is in line with the Bank’s Ten–Year Strategy (2013-2022), which prioritizes support to infrastructure development as one of the key areas for the AfDB’s future assistance.
The project areas have, on average, a female population of 51.5 per cent. During operation, the project results are expected to deal with some of the challenges faced mostly by women. Most importantly, the reduction in travel time will enable emergency cases, including those related to maternity cases, reach health facilities in a timely manner, with the expected 20 per cent reduction in number of maternity emergencies.
Available transport such as mini-buses as opposed to motorcycles will enable girls access secondary schools with a potential for achieving 95 per cent secondary school enrolment ratio female to male. The improvement of the roadside markets, which are mostly patronized by women (60 per cent), will result in increased income opportunities for women, and contribute to a 30 per cent reduction in transport costs.