France Boost Imo Rural Road Projects with $60 MillionFeatured, Latest News, News Friday, December 15th, 2017
Photo: Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha
By Eric Ojo, Abuja
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Government of France through it development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), has pledged to finance the rehabilitation of rural roads in Imo State, Eastern Nigeria.
The French government signed a financing agreement of $60 million with the Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja. The amount will be on-lent to the Government of Imo State for the implementation of the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP II), already implemented in Adamawa, Enugu, Niger and Osun States.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr Denys Gauer and Mr. André Hue, Deputy Director of the AFD signed the agreement on behalf of both countries.
The AFD is a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government and works to combat poverty and promote sustainable development. The agency operates in five continents via a network of 85 offices and its staff of 2,400 officers. It has earmarked €9.4 billion to finance projects in developing countries and for the French overseas territories.
The objectives of AFD in Nigeria are dedicated to two main goals which are to support a competitive economy that creates jobs and wealth, and to contribute to building a shared and resilient development. To do so, four main pillars have been prioritized which include; supporting the diversification of the non-oil economy, promoting the low-carbon energy transition, contributing to a more productive agricultural activity and to the food security as well as supporting the territorial transition in vulnerable areas.
Since its opening in the country in 2008, the French development agency has been involved in several sectors such as water, energy, transport and rural development, as well as supporting the private sector. To date, its support to Nigeria amounts to about $1.3 billion.
Nigeria has a relatively dense but largely deteriorated road network due to lack of maintenance. The deterioration of the road networks deeply hinders economic activity, particularly in the agricultural sector, which contributes to 40 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 50 per cent of the population.
In rural areas, nearly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. This situation is mainly due to the inaccessibility of these areas, and to the difficulties encountered by farmers in selling their produce in markets.
Meanwhile, the RAMP and its extension to Imo, which is co-financed by AFD and the World Bank, will make rural areas more accessible and improve transport conditions for their population. The programme aims at reducing poverty in rural areas and boosting the agricultural sector by developing rural transport infrastructure, which includes the rehabilitation of roads, building of bridges and other river-crossings.
In addition, it is aimed at ensuring the maintenance of all rehabilitated roads and support Imo State in setting up pilot maintenance projects and strengthening the project management capacities of administrations, at State level.
This project will also allow Imo State to rehabilitate 300 km of rural roads and to build 15 river crossings as well as putting in place an institutional scheme for their maintenance, involving user communities.
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