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Tunis, 29 February 2007 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on Friday in Tunis signed three grant agreements of 41.8 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$ 66.68 million, with the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Economic and Monetary Union of Central African States (CEMAC) to finance the Douala-Bangui and Douala-Ndjamena road corridor, linking Cameroon, the CAR and Chad.
The Agreements were signed by the Bank Group’s Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Mandla Gantsho, the CAR’s Economy, Planning and International Cooperation Minister, Slyvain Miliko, and CEMAC President, Antoine Ntsimi.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Gantsho explained that the two grants and a UA 48 million loan to Cameroon signed last week and a UA 19 million grant approved for Chad represent the Bank’s contribution of a combined US$ 174 million to the transport facilitation programme for the road corridor linking Douala-Bangui and Douala-N’Djamena.
He said the two main objectives of the African Development Fund (ADF) loan, the Bank Group’s concessional arm, "are to contribute to the growth of intra- and inter-regional trade in the CEMAC zone" as well as "enhance the efficiency of the transport chain, including road infrastructure, railways and access along the Douala-Ndjamena and Douala-Bangui Corridors."
"The Multinational Programme falls within NEPAD’s framework that is aimed at creating commercially and economically viable corridors devoid of barriers, formalities and unnecessary road blocks that are the only principal causes of undue delays and high transaction costs along these corridors," Mr. Gantsho explained.
He noted that the Bank was contributing US$ 174 million in loans and grants from its multinational window under the ADF-X for the road facilitation project estimated at US$ 410 million.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the CAR Economy, Planning and International Cooperation Minister, Sylvain Maliko, stressed the importance of the road facilitation programme to the regional integration of CEMAC member countries. He commended the Bank for its constant support to the countries and their integration project.
CEMAC President, Antoine Ntsimi, for his part, noted that none of the capitals of the countries in the region were linked to each other by tarred highway in good condition though roads were becoming more and more important for the region.
He commended the Bank Group and other donors such as the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, among others.
"As of July 2005, the Bank Group had approved 250 operations for the benefit of CEMAC member countries with a combined commitment of US$ 3.1 billion. Debt relief under the HIPCs initiative amounts to US$ 139.9 million," he explained.
He also expressed the gratitude of his government to the European Union, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Bank for their contributions to the project.
The project is expected to improve access to the port of Douala for Chad and CAR. It will also help reduce poverty and improve the population’s living environment and conditions, especially women.
* UA 1 = US$ 1.59527 = XOF 703.717 as at 29/ 02/2008
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