The New Times (Kigali)

27 July 2012

East Africa: AfDB to Fund Rubavu-Gisinzi Road to Boost Regional Trade

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government yesterday signed a financing agreement for the construction of the Rubavu-Gisinzi road to boost regional trade.

"The multinational road will promote regional integration and contribute to regional trade as it links Rwanda to Burundi and D.R Congo," Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of finance, said during the signing of the cooperation on Friday.

The cooperation involves two new financing agreements totalling US$68m which include a loan of US$61m and a grant totalling US$7m to finance the Rubavu-Gisiza road project which is part of a 185 kilometre regional road project between Rwanda and Burundi worth US$320.

Kampeta said that the road will further provide easy access to markets for produce from the North and western part of the country. She said that the AfDB financing wraps up the government's efforts to mobilise almost US$320m required to construct the multinational road with previous funding from Exim Bank of China and some Middle East countries.

The government is contributing US$ 6.17 million towards the 185 kilometre road that is seen to boost exports to Burundi and DRC which are the country's main trading partners besides boosting tourism in Nyungwe forest. "The multinational road when completed will open up the region's top economic activity, play an important role in the development and diversification of national and international trade flows in the sub-region," Negatu Makonnen, the resident representative for ADB said.

He said that the project would contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the people in the area and the two countries as a whole. 'The bank will always remain committed to working closely with the government in efforts to achieve the development aspirations as articulated in Vision 2020," he added.

The project is the sixth major road being financed by the bank over the past nine years bringing the whole bank's lending portfolio to US$430 million both in public and private sectors in the country. Experts are optimistic that with member countries increasing efforts to improve regional roads, the integration will be a reality especially in easing trade under the common market protocol.

Negatu further noted that the bank is in discussions with the government to finance two major additional roads. These are the Base-Nyagatare road planned for 2013, Kagitumba-Kayonza road due for completion in 2014.

"These two projects would help open up the corridors linking DRC, Uganda and Tanzania with Rwanda," he added. Indeed, with full implementation of operations at Kagitumba and Rusumo one-top border posts, transport costs and time spent are expected to reduce significantly thus easing doing business in the region.

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