Gabon: AfDB Supports Road Program

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Tunis, 17 September 2007 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Monday in Tunis, a loan of 221.90 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to €256.27 million to help finance the first phase of a road project (RP1) in Gabon.

The objective of the loan is to improve road safety and reduce vehicle operating cost and provide access to socio-economic and health infrastructure along the roads in the provinces of Ngounie and Ogooue Lolo provinces. This is expected to help in the consolidation of regional integration, increase the number of internal access roads as well as assist in poverty reduction by improving living conditions.

The expected outcomes of RP1 include the construction of the 112.4-km Fougamou-Mouila road, the 96.4-km Leyou-Lastourville road and the 37-km Ndende-Lebamba road. Others include studies on  10 km of the RN1 (Libreville-PK 15), 231 km of the Mouila-Ndende-Doussala/Ndende-Tchibanga road, and 31 km of the Libreville express way. Other components involve sensitization on environmental protection and AIDS/STD prevention and related activities such as socio-educational and health infrastructure. The program will also provide the Ministry of Public Works, Equipment and Construction with institutional support to enhance its efficiency.

The program covers 2 of Gabon’s 9 provinces, namely, Ngounie and Ogooue Lolo. The total surface area of the project is 63,130 km², or close to 24% of the national territory. It will make it possible to connect the southern part of the country to the Trans-Gabon railway. The programis also expected to make a positive impact on 5 of the country’s 11 Departments, namely, Dola, Tsamba-Magotsi, Louesti Wano, Ogooue-Lolo and Lolo-Bouenguidi which cover an area of 35,000 km², or about 11% of the national territory. In 2006, it had a population of 125,000 inhabitants, representing about 9% of the national population. With respect to the Millennium Development Goals, the project area presents indicators that are very low and well below the national average with the incidence of poverty standing at 54% against a national average of 33%. Close to 50% of the households surveyed in this region are described as poor.

The estimated cost of the program stands at UA 246.56 million. The ADB loan will finance 90% of the costs. The government will provide the remaining 10% or 24.66 million UA.

The Bank Group’s operations in Gabon started in 1974. The approved program brings its operations in the country to 36, including 29 projects, three structural adjustment programs, one emergency assistance and three studies. The Bank Group’s total commitment in the country currently stands at 752 .92 million UA, equivalent to € 842 million.

* 1 UA =  € 1.11830 = FCFA = 733.557

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