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African Development Bank Approves $115 Million Loan for Infrastructure Project in Abia State, Nigeria

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ABUJA, Nigeria, July 2, 2023/ — The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group  has given its nod to a significant loan of $115 million to support a crucial road rehabilitation and infrastructure project in Abia State, Nigeria. This ambitious endeavor aims to enhance the state’s urban infrastructure services and combat various challenges like erosion control and solid waste management in the state capital, Umuahia, and the bustling commercial center, Aba.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $263.80 million, which will be funded through various sources. The African Development Bank will contribute $100 million, while the Canada–African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF) will provide $15 million. Additionally, the Islamic Development Bank will offer a co-financing loan of $125 million. To support compensation for those affected by the project and implement a Resettlement Action Plan, the Abia State government will contribute $23.80 million in counterpart funding.

The project’s scope includes the rehabilitation of an extensive network of roads, spanning 248.46 km in total—comprising 58.03 km in Umuahia and 190.43 km in Aba. These roads will be upgraded to asphaltic concrete standards with varying cross sections. Furthermore, the project will address erosion sites in both Umuahia and Aba while preparing for private sector involvement in solid waste management for the two cities. Capacity building and the development of social infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of schools, provision of sanitation facilities in schools, community markets, and hospitals, will also be undertaken.

Umuahia and Aba, with their respective populations of approximately 553,000 and 814,000 (as of 2022 estimates), have been grappling with infrastructure challenges due to inadequate investments amid rapid urbanization. Gully erosion and mounting piles of solid waste have exacerbated the situation, necessitating urgent intervention.

Upon completion in 2029, the project is expected to significantly benefit the approximately 1.37 million residents of Umuahia and Aba. The improved roads will lead to reduced travel time, vehicle operating costs, and overall transportation expenses. Moreover, the initiative will generate around 3,000 temporary jobs during the construction phase, with 30% of these opportunities earmarked for women. About 1,000 permanent jobs will be created during the operational phase, with a focus on empowering youth, who will make up 50% of the workforce. To this end, the State Youth Road Maintenance Corps will provide training in contract management for road maintenance, drawing young Abia engineers from the 17 Local Government Areas of the State.

Lamin Barrow, Director General of the African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, emphasized that the project aims to build resilience by enhancing urban infrastructure services and providing essential economic and social amenities to the towns.

Barrow remarked, “The successful implementation of the project will expand access to economic and social amenities in the two cities, contributing to the development of sustainable and livable urban areas.”

Notably, the African Development Bank’s portfolio in Nigeria encompasses 48 operations amounting to $4.2 billion. Of these, national (Federal and States) operations represent 90% of the portfolio, comprising 41 projects totaling $3.79 billion, while multinational operations constitute the remaining 10% with 7 projects amounting to $0.41 billion. The portfolio includes 24 Sovereign Operations amounting to $2.36 billion (56% of total commitments) and 24 Non-Sovereign Operations amounting to $1.84 billion (44%).

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