Tunis, 5 August 2009 – Gabon’s interim President, Rose Francine Rogombe, launched on Tuesday, 4 August 2009, at Lebamba and Mouila, the first phase of a huge highway project (PR1), for which the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved the biggest transport sector loan ever to a regional member country. The Bank Group is contributing FCFA 165 billion (about US$ 350 million), representing 90% of the CFAF 183 billion (about 390 million U.S. dollars), which the entire project is estimated to cost.
The ceremony flagged-off the construction and tarring of two of the three road networks – the 118-km Fougamou-Mouila stretch and the Ndende-Lebamba axis – covering 37 kms, to be completed in three and two years, respectively. The Lastoursville-Leyou axis will be inaugurated on Friday, August 7. The three road networks cover some 260 kms and traverse 24% of the national territory.
The ceremony was attended by Vice-President Didjob Divungi Di Ndinge, Prime Minister Paul Mba Biyoghe, Public Works, Infrastructure and Construction Minister; Flavien Nzengui Nzoundou; National Defense Minister, Ali Bongo Ondimba; Interior Minister, Jean-François Ndougou; Economy, Finance and Budget Minister, Blaise Louembe; among others.
The Bank Group’s delegation was led by the Regional Director for Central Africa, Jaouad Mohammed Gharbi; who represented President Donald Kaberuka; the Gabon Field Office Acting Resident Representative, Diarra Assistan-Thioune; the Operations Officer, Kaningbi Nyaki-Zangbula; the Infrastructure Department Project Manager; Malek Amara and Transport expert; Jean Felix Edjodjom.
Representatives of La Ngounié Province and China's ambassador to Gabon attended the event.
Two Chinese firms have been contracted to execute the project.