Gabon-AfDB: Interim President Launches Third Axis of Bank-Funded Road Project

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Tunis, 10 August 2009 – Gabon’s interim President, Rose Francine Rogombe, on Friday 7 August 2009, officially launched the third section of a major road construction program (PR1), in which the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is contributing CFAF 165 billion (about US$ 350 million), representing 90% of the total cost of the project.  This amount is the largest transport sector loan ever granted by an AfDB to a regional member country. watch video

The ceremony, held at Lastourville in Mulundu Department in the south-eastern part of the country, involved the launching of construction and paving of a 92-km long and 7-meter wide stretch between Leyou and Lastourville and the tarring of five other ancillary roads leading up to Koulamoutou. A Chinese company, Sinohydro Corporation, will executive the project, estimated at CFAF 64.3 billion. The overall cost of the road program is estimated at CFAF 183 billion (about $ 390 million).

Construction work at the first two sections of the road network, the 118-km Fougamou-Mouila and the 37-km Ndende-Lebamba axes were launched on 4 August 2009.

President Rogombe was accompanied at the ceremony by Vice-President Didjob Divungi Di Ndinge, National Assembly Speaker, Guy Nzouba Ndama, as well as the ministers of Public Works; Flavien Nzengui Nzoundou, national defense, Ali Bongo Ondimba, Economy and Finance, Blaise Louembé, Development, Anaclet Bissielo and Public Worlds Minister Delegate, Fabien Mere. Representatives of Ogooue-Lolo province, along with the mayor of the city of Lastourville, Jean Marie Bengagoye, were also at the ceremony.

The AfDB’s Central Africa Regional Department Director, Jaouad Mohammed Gharbi, represented President Donald Kaberuka at the ceremony along with the Gabon Regional Office Acting Resident Representative, Diarra Assistan-Thioune, the Operations Officer, Kaningbi Nyaki-Zangbula, the project manager in the Department of Infrastructure, Malek Amara, and Transport expert, Felix Edjodjom.

The project is an integral part of the first phase of the country’s road improvement program approved in 1992 and revised ten years later for the period 2002-2012.

The participation of the country’s leaders at the ceremonies as well as the strong mobilization of the people benefiting from the program and their elected officials, reflect the priority attached to the development of road infrastructure in Gabon’s national development strategy and the importance the country attaches to its cooperation with he AfDB. In speeches delivered on the occasion, the government expressed its appreciation of the Bank Group’s firm commitment to the realization of the national road network improvement project. The government expressed the desire to deepen cooperation with the Bank in the implementation of the second phase programmed in 2010.

The Gabonese government also expressed its gratitude to the Bank Group for its long-standing support to the country’s development efforts for the benefit of the people.In response, the AfDB delegation, on behalf of President Donald Kaberuka, reiterated the institution’s commitment to make all efforts to ensure the program’s success, stressing that the Bank intends to make it a model flagship project to underscore the priority accorded to infrastructure development on the continent, which is a key pillar of the institution’s 2008-2012 Medium-Term Strategy.

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