WASHINGTON, February 18, 2016—The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today an International Development Association (IDA)* additional credit of US$125 million for the High-Priority Roads Reopening and Maintenance Project – Pro-Routes.
The activities proposed under the new funds would increase the number of km of roads improved and re-opened under the original project to a total of about 3.344 km, which is about 30 percent of the 9,000 km of the high-priority earth roads network. In doing so, the project would re-establish lasting road access between provincial capitals, districts and territories in the Orientale (Tshopo, Bas-Uele and Ituri), North and South-Kivu, Katanga (Tanganyika and Haut-Katanga), and Equateur (Sud-Ubangi) provinces, and open up road links to Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR).
The development of the transport sector in DRC is a critical element of the government’s policy to stimulate broad-based economic growth, contribute to poverty reduction, and provide basic connectivity to the distinct parts of the country. The transport sector is also seen as a key enabler to increase agricultural output, improve internal and external trade competitiveness, support mining sector growth and address the socio-economic challenges that affect isolated communities.
“National unity and economic stability are DRC government’s two top priorities. Accordingly, improving the transport sector’s performance constitutes a vital goal for the government, and spending on transport can be considered core development spending,” said Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye Country Director for the DRC
About 50 percent of DRC’s territory remains inaccessible by road or rail transport. Out of the current ten provincial capitals, only four are currently connected by road (Matadi, Mbandaka, Bandundu and Kananga) to the capital city Kinshasa. Surface travel between major population centers, as well as access to rural areas is often not possible.
The planned road works, in addition to serving the DRC part of the key regional trade/transport corridors crossing the country, would also contribute to reconnect the Eastern part of DRC (mainly South and North Kivu provinces), to Kisangani (former Orientale province, now Tshopo province), and then to Kinshasa by river transportation, creating an efficient and effective intermodal corridor of about 2,500 km.
“This would facilitate internal connectivity and enhance trade opportunities between different parts of Congo. Furthermore, it would reduce the isolation of large parts of the Eastern provinces of Congo caused by decades of conflict, lack of infrastructure,” says Alexandre Dossou, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
The new funds complement the proposed Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP), which includes improving border crossing capacity and procedures at the end of the two national road corridors leading to Uganda, planned to be rehabilitated.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.