Rwanda–AfDB Supports Butare-Kitabi-Ntendezi Road Project

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Tunis, 25 March 2009 -  The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessionary window of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, will support the rehabilitation and maintenance of a major road in Rwanda with a grant of 16 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$23.5 million, approved by the institutions Executive Board on Wednesday, 25 March 2009,  in Tunis, Tunisia.

The objective of the project is to open up the rural areas to increase sub-regional trade. Specifically, The Butare-Kitabi-Ntendezi Road Project aims at facilitating the movement of goods and people as well as improving the living conditions of communities in the area.

Improving national road networks and supporting productive sectors are key elements of the country’s Vision 2020 and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) which constitute the government’s strategic framework for sustainable development.

The 115-km road network links the capital, Kigali, to the western and southern parts of the country, and serves as the main access road to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), notably the Bukavu Region, for the supply of food and manufactured products.

The project is in line with the objectives pursued by Rwanda’s poverty reduction strategy, as well as the Bank’s intervention strategy. It is based on the first pillar of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP), which lays emphasis on the improvement of economic infrastructure. The Bank is currently financing agricultural activities in the road project area, which will benefit from the improvement of the road and rural arteries thereby contributing to poverty reduction in the area.

The project area, which is the most isolated region of Rwanda, includes the West and South Provinces, in particular, the districts of Huye (formerly Butare), Nyaruguru, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe and Rusizi (formerly Cyangugu). It constitutes an important link in the regional transport chain as it fosters movement between the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Bukavu and Uvira towns) and the Port of Mombasa in Kenya in the Northern Corridor.

The area serves as one of the breadbaskets of the country, accounting for approximately 40% of national tuber and 100% of barley production. It produces cash crops such as tea and coffee that account for 40% and 35% of national production, respectively. The area is rich in minerals and hosts the country’s sole cement factory, which produces approximately 70,000 tonnes each year and supplies the entire country and eastern DRC through the project road.

The rural population represents approximately 79% of the 1.9 million total population of the area, and comprises farmers, stockbreeders and traders, who would benefit the most from improved condition for the movement of goods and people, reduction of overall transport costs, and improved access to basic social services.

The project is estimated at UA 46.74 million. The ADF grant represents 34.23% of the overall cost. It will be co-financed by Rwanda’s Road Maintenance Fund (FER), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA), the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), the OPEC Fund for International Development as well as the Rwandan government.

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