The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday in Accra signed an agreement with the government to commit an amount of US$81.67 million meant to finance the Eastern Corridor Road Development Programme Phase 1.
The 695-kilometre corridor project is meant to link Accra with the northern hinterland by avoiding the long known central corridor. This would also reduce the distance to about 200km.
The Phase 1 of the project covers the construction of roads and community development along; Dufor Adidome- Asikuma Junction (39.2km), Asutuare-Aveyime (23.9km) and the construction of two interchanges at Dufor Adidome and Asikuma Junction.
Briefing the media before the signing ceremony, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, Deputy Minister for Finance said the government was committed to the development of roads in Ghana to accelerate the economic development and therefore has a comprehensive programme for the development of roads in the country.
She said the signing of the Eastern Corridor Road Development Programme was therefore part of the government's larger strategy for delivering excellent road network in Ghana adding that there were a lot of on-going roads and bridge constructions all aimed at expanding road infrastructure networks as well as expanding rural and urban development initiatives in the country.
Mrs Asare said the key component of the Eastern Corridor project were the construction of the road sections from Dufor-Adidome-Asikuma Junction and the Asutuare-Aveyime roads adding that other ancillary works would focus on addressing the immediate needs of communities located along the project corridor.
She said the activities in communities along the project corridor would include skills development for selected youth to enhance their employability and entrepreneurship, support for establishing of district and community level agro-processing facilities and trade infrastructure development among many others.
Mr Asare said all the initiatives were supposed to feed into the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) which was meant to promote inclusive development of all parts of the country saying "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the African Development Bank for their support over the years and we urge them to support other critical sectors of the economy".
Mr Anthony Karbo, Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways said since the President declared 2020 as the 'year of roads', the ministry was willing and ready to mobilise both internal and external resources towards the development of roads in the country.
"In this regard, the Ministry of Roads and Highways sees development partners, and for that matter African Development Bank as a key partner in this venture," he said.
He said the road sector has in its Sector Medium Development Plan (2018-2021) to develop the road infrastructure and services to promote trade opportunities within the country and its neighbours adding that the long term plan for its corridors was to develop them into high-speed dual roads to enhance movement and ensure safety.
Dr Sebastian Okeke said the bank was committed to partnering the country in its infrastructure development having spent about US$518 million in about 12 road projects adding that it was hoped that the financial package for the Eastern Corridor road would be executed timely and within budget.