African Development Bank (AfDB) announced in a statement published last Wednesday that it has granted Uganda and Rwanda a total of $245 million in loans to finance road infrastructures which aim to facilitate trade in the region.
Uganda will receive from this sum $151 million to build a 23.7km-long freeway which will connect Kampala (Busega area) to Mpigi, which is located in the North Corridor. That is the main road passing through the region.
As for Rwanda, it will receive $94 million to rehabilitate a 208km-long road that goes from the north to the south of the country and connecting Kagitumba (Uganda-Rwanda border) to Rusumo (Tanzania-Rwanda border).
Reinforcing these roads coincides with the goals of the East African Community (EAC) to fight poverty and boost regional integration in the Great Lakes area.
In Uganda, the existing Busega-Mpigi road is highly congested especially at Busega, handling over 26,000 vehicles per day on a two-lane road. Average vehicle travel time from Busega to Mpigi will be reduced from one hour to 20 minutes on the completion of the project. In Rwanda, the average vehicle travel time on the Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo road will be reduced by 50%, from six to three hours. The road construction will be completed in 2½ years.
The direct beneficiaries of the project are traders and transporters who use the Northern Corridor via Mirama Hills/Kagitumba and the Central Corridor, via Rusumo and the 2.14 million people living within the Busega-Mpigi and Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo areas.
“The project will contribute to poverty reduction, improve the quality of life of people in the area by providing socio-economic facilities. It will also contributes to agriculture development and food security; and facilitates industrialization through reduced transportation and logistics costs,” said Amadou Oumarou, Director of the AfDB’s Transport & ICT Department.
The total project cost is estimated at USD 376.5 million, co-financed by AfDB (USD 244.6 million), Japan International Cooperation Agency (USD 56.3 million), European Union (USD 22.4 million) and the Governments of Uganda and Rwanda (USD 53.2million).