Road improvement and trade facilitation: AfDB and Guinea sign US $50 million in loan agreements

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and Guinea on February 12 in Abidjan signed US $50 million in loan agreements to finance a road improvement and trade facilitation project.

This Road Improvement and Transport Facilitation Project in the Mano River Union includes the tarring of 276.35 kilometres of roads in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia. It also provides for the building and equipment of two juxtaposed border checkpoints and the development of social infrastructure such as schools, health centres and bus stations.

"The signing of the financing agreements is highly symbolic," AfDB Sector Operations Vice-President Aly Abou-Sabaa said.

The African Development Bank has indeed made transport infrastructure development and trade facilitation in the Mano River region (Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) one of its priorities.

To support the reconstruction of this region, the AfDB has set up a special initiative for the Mano River region.

"This priority has become even more urgent following the outbreak of the Ebola crisis in three Mano River Union countries, with significant human cost,” Vice-President Abou-Sabaa said. “This crisis has also clearly slowed down the reconstruction process in the region,” he stressed.

The Guinean Finance and Economy Minister, Mohamed Diare, echoed this sentiment. "After more than a decade of civil wars in the region, Guinea welcomed over one million refugees on its soil before being hit by an unprecedented crisis, the Ebola crisis," he said.

He expressed his satisfaction with the success of the road improvement and transport facilitation project.

The project will create about 8,000 jobs during the construction period, estimated to last three years. It will also increase the volume of trade among the three countries, while strengthening regional integration. It will also help to reduce vehicle operating costs and travel time on the routes involved. For example, the border crossing time of a cargo truck will be halved from the current 24 hours to less than 12 hours upon completion of the project. The project will also address major sources of fragility of the region.

The project, estimated at US $333 million, is financed at over 93% by the AfDB whose contribution is US $310 million. The amount provided to Guinea under this project is US $50 million.

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