The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and Cameroon signed an agreement for a loan of 48 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$ 76.57 million (FCFA 36 billion) to finance the Douala-Bangui and Douala Ndjamena road corridor, linking Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.
The agreement was signed on Friday in Tunis by the Bank Group's Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Mandla Gantsho, and Cameroon's Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze.
The two main objectives of the loan from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group, are to contribute to the growth of intra- and inter-regional trade in the Economic and Monetary Union of Central African States (CEMAC) zone as well as enhance the efficiency of the transport chain, including road infrastructure, railways and access along the Douala-Ndjamena and Douala-Bangui Corridors.
"The Multinational Programme falls within NEPAD's framework that is aimed at creating commercially and economically viable corridors devoid of barriers, formalities and unnecessary road blocks that are the only principal causes of undue delays and high transaction costs along these corridors," Mr. Gantsho explained after the signing ceremony.
He noted that the Bank is contributing US$ 174 million in loans and grants from its multinational window under the ADF-X for the road facilitation project estimated at US$ 410 million.
The other agreements for loans and grants of UA 19 million to Chad, UA 27.8 million to the Central African Republic and UA 19 Million for CEMAC, will be signed in due course, he explained.
For his part, the Minister commended the "crucial role played by the AfDB in the success of this heartwarming and important operation".
"The Transport Facilitation and Transit Programme of the Douala-Bangui and Douala-Ndjamena corridor is part of a sub-regional strategic investment which will enable the Republic of Cameroun, a transit country in particular, and CEMAC member states to promote and facilitate regional integration by improving free movement of people and goods," Mr. Motaze explained.
He also expressed the gratitude of his government to the European Union, the French Development Agency (ADF) and the World Bank for their contribution to the project.
The project is expected to improve access to the port of Douala for Chad and CAR. It will also help reduce poverty and improve the population's living environment and conditions, especially women.
* UA 1 = US$ 1.59527 = XOF 703.717 as at 22 022/2008
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