African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the release of $184.79 million for the proposed 9,000-kilometre Trans-Sahara Highway (TSH).
The approval is contained in a statement issued by the bank on Monday in Addis Ababa.
It noted that the bank had approved the release of the amount during its meeting on Dec. 11, held in Tunis.
According to the statement, the project involves the construction and asphalt of 565 kilometres of road to link the main axis and the Chadian branch of the Trans-Sahara Highway.
The statement added that part of the amount would be used for the construction of a 543-metre-long bridge on River Niger at Farié, with three kilometres of access road.
It would also include the construction of infrastructure to ease transport and transit at the Algeria and Niger and the Niger and Chad borders.
“The project will facilitate overland trade and regional integration between the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), ECOWAS, Economic community of Central African States (ECCAS) in general and Algeria, Niger and Chad, in particular.
“The project’s specific objective is to improve the TSH’s overall level of service and the living conditions of inhabitants of the project impact area.’’
The bank statement pointed out that the project was designed to put infrastructure at the centre of economic, social, political and security stakes of the continent, with the highway located on the Algiers-Lagos and Dakar-Djibouti trans-African corridors as identified by the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
It said the project would be executed in line with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) objectives of linking major cities of AU member states by 2020.
“The project is expected to improve TSH service and increase traffic and trade between North Africa, West Africa and Central Africa, as well as reduce the cost of transport and logistics.
Others include improving the living conditions of residents of the project area and their access to basic social services such as potable water, schools, health units and contribute to the overall improvement of security in the Sahara region.
The programme was part of PIDA’s priority projects to connect African capitals and major cities within the framework of the transport sector policies and vision of ECOWAS and others.
It is also in line with AfDB’s strategic plan for the countries concerned and consistent with pillar two of the bank’s 10-Year Strategy (2013 to 2022) aimed at providing affordable access to reliable electricity and transport infrastructure.
Other donors to the project include the Islamic Development Bank, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC).