AfDB to Finance Rehabilitation of Rural Infrastructure in Gabon

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to finance the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure in Gabon. The Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a loan of roughly USD 68.7 million to finance the Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation Support Project in the country.

The project, whose total cost is USD 78.9 million, will support the Gabonese government’s effort to diversify the country’s economy and reduce its dependence on the oil sector. In its Country Strategy Paper for Gabon for 2011-2015, the AfDB had identified agriculture, as a major sector for diversification. The effort will enhance food security and reduce the country’s dependence on food imports.

The Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation Support Project is located in one of Gabon’s most economically important provinces – the Woleu Ntem province – which has very high agricultural potential but where farming is constrained by inadequate infrastructure and inaccessibility to the market.

Following the AfDB Board’s approval of the project, Abdirahman Beileh, the Bank’s Acting Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry, noted that “by supporting the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, building roads and rehabilitating village markets, the project will improve both agricultural production as well as accessibility to markets.” He also said that the project will build capacity and enhance regional trade, since it is situated on the Cameroon-Gabon-Congo corridor, partly funded by the Bank. He added that women traders and unemployed youth are prime project beneficiaries.

The loan, which will be effective by June 2012, is repayable over 20 years with a five-year grace period.

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