On December 17, 2014, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved a donation of approximately US $108 million from the resources of the African Development Fund (AFD) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project involves the development of the Tshikapa-Mbuji Mayi route, more specifically the 87-kilometre Tshikapa-Kamuesha section, and the repair of related agricultural and rural infrastructure in the province of Western Kasai. This province is very isolated due to the advanced state of disrepair of its road network.
The primary sector – agriculture, livestock and mining – are at the heart of the economy of Western Kasai, with diamond mining alone accounting for 12.4% of this sector. Rural infrastructure linked to National Highway No. 1 (RN1) will boost local development and trade, and the movement of people and goods in an appropriate manner. The project's area of direct impacts covers a population estimated at 1,750,000 inhabitants, of which 892,000 (approx 51%) are women.
Thanks to the project, which will be implemented over five years, the province of Western Kasai will no longer be isolated and it will be linked to the neighbouring province of Bandundu and the city province of Kinshasa. The project will also bring improvements to food security the availability of agricultural products, capacity building for support services, vocational training and social reintegration, and for grass-roots communities.
The repair work started on the RN1 is in line with a Congolese governmental strategy, around the gradual development and asphalting of the country's major roads mentioned above. The project is a continuation of interventions by the Bank and other donors (European Union and World Bank), already involved in the development of the RN1 and support for the development of the rural sector, which are having substantial impact on the economy.
The RN1 is a major route with a key role to play as a main corridor for transit and domestic and inter-regional trade between Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.
A strategic partner of DRC, the Bank's intervention is needed to support the DRC's development efforts and the reduction of poverty.