AfDB approves loans to improve transport and roads in Mano River countries

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On December 18, 2014, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved various loans to Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia taken from the resources of the Transition Support Facility (TSF) and the African Development Fund (ADF). These loans are intended to finance a programme for road development and the facilitation of transport within the Mano River Union. The Ivorian, Guinean and Liberian governments will receive US $33,413,000, $11,774,000 and $37,525,000, respectively, from the ADF. This means that funds awarded from the ADF to Côte d’Ivoire amount to US $108,079,000, while Guinea will have received US $32,222,000 and Liberia US $75,050,000.

The program focuses on the development and asphalting of the Danané-Lola road (87.35 kilometres), the Bloléquin-Toulépleu-Liberian border road (65 km), the Tabou-Prollo road (28 km), the Karloken-Fish Town road (80 km) and the Harper-Cavally junction (16 km). All these routes, amounting to 276.35 km, are currently dirt roads, barely six metres wide, with mostly makeshift wooden crossings making them impassable in certain seasons. In fact, the isolation of the regions, the high number of checkpoints on the roads and the unsuitability of the border posts are factors of fragility that fuel the successive crises that have hit the region over the last 20 years. However, traffic on these roads is set to increase given the economic potential of the area and the efforts made to put an end to the recurrent crises that have for so long characterised these three countries. Also, to prepare for this increase in traffic density, it is necessary to improve the quality of road serviceability to make them passable all year round. Border checks also need to be lightened. All this means roads have to be developed and asphalted, and border controls set up offering joint inspections.

The programme, which will be rolled out from June 2015 to June 2019, will benefit carriers, road users, and also agricultural producers, as well as the 2.83 million people who live in the target region – in particular, disadvantaged groups.

Due to its experience and expertise gained in the implementation of regional infrastructure projects, the Bank has been designated lead funding donor for NEPAD infrastructure. This programme is also a continuation of the Bank's support for the Liberian transport sector, which includes the asphalting of the Fish Town-Harper road, a project approved in 2013. Lastly, AfDB has taken the initiative of setting up a special High Level Panel on Fragile States, which has developed an action plan with recommendations.

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