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The African Development Fund (ADF) has approved $81.67 million loan facility to co-finance sections of the 695-km Eastern Corridor road in Ghana, linking the capital Accra with the northern hinterland and across the borders to the Sahel region.

The decision was taken by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday and copied to the Ghana News Agency.

According to the release, other lenders for the project were the Opec Fund for International Development, the Ghanaian Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which was financing a connecting bridge across the Volta River.

The $113.27 million project covers over 60-km of roads, two interchanges and related civil works incorporating community support initiatives to help improve livelihoods in the catchment area.

The release said the project included rehabilitation of schools and health facilities, construction of markets and agro-processing facilities for livestock, fish, cassava, fruits and cereals, in addition to skills training.

Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Bank Director for West Africa told the Board during her presentation that “this interconnectivity will enhance inclusiveness to stimulate socio-economic development, facilitate trade and promote regional integration."

She said the project would address the needs of an estimated 230,000 people and impact the lives of over 5.4 million inhabitants by reducing travel and transit time, support education and health services delivery while agricultural potentials of the rural areas would be transformed.

“With this project we hope to turn rural areas from areas of economic challenges to economic prosperity and bread baskets,” she said, adding that about 1,500 direct jobs would be created.

The release said upon completion, the stretch would be tolled and axle-weighing facilities provided to control overloading.

Mam Tut Wadda, Task Manager, said the project would build on the successful Bank-financed Fufulso-Sawla Project in northern Ghana.

She noted that the Bank’s leadership role in transport infrastructure development in Ghana had stimulated interest and alliances with several development partners in the country.

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the Bank, welcomed the strong collaboration with JICA and OFID and the opportunities for setting up of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones along the Eastern Corridor.

In approving the loan, Board members noted that, the project was in line with the Bank’s ten-year strategy and three of the "High 5" priorities and called on the government of Ghana to ensure a successful implementation of the project and its sustainability when completed.

In December 2017, the ADF granted Ghana a concessionary loan of $39.01 million to finance the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project.
The Project is to be implemented over a five-year period from 2018 to 2022.

KWABENAH ASUAMAH

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