The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Board of Directors has approved a € 236-million loan to the Republic of Tunisia to finance the country’s Roads Upgrading Programme.
Given the important role of the transport sector in the economic and social development process, the Tunisian government has embarked on an ambitious programme to develop an efficient transport system and high quality infrastructure to sustain growth and create conducive conditions for enhanced export competitiveness.
Under the Eleventh Economic and Social Development Plan (2007-2011), an investment programme amounting to Tunisian Dinars (TND) 2.375 billion was earmarked for road infrastructure. In line with this, the Tunisian government and the Bank discussed the financing of a road programme for a total cost of TND 1.087 billion (about €620 million). The implementation of the programme has been divided into tranches, the first of which was granted a loan of €174.33 million in June 2008.
This Road Project VI is the second tranche of the programme. It is estimated to cost € 336.74 million. The AfDB loan represents 70% of the total amount. The government contribution, amounting to € 100.74 million, represents 30% of the total project cost, and covers the entire local currency cost.
Designed for nationwide implementation, the project involves:
The rehabilitation of 862.8 km of classified roads;
The reinforcement of 691.3 km of classified roads;
The construction of 12 engineering structures;
The improvement of 759.4 km of feeder roads; and
The modernisation/dualisation of 52.6 km of the classified road network.
In Tunisia, the road network accounts for virtually all movement of persons and over 80% of goods transport. Over the 1997-2006 period, traffic recorded an average annual growth rate of 6.1%.
The project will benefit the entire country, particularly people in the north-west (Béja, Jendouba, Kef, Siliana and Zaghouan), centre-west (Kasserine, Kairouan and Sidi Bouzid) and the south (Gafsa, Kebili, Tozeur and Medenine).
Its implementation will contribute to improved user mobility on the classified road network and increased intra- and inter-regional trade. Furthermore, its feeder roads component will help to open up rural areas to better tap their potential. The project outcomes will have multiplier effects on the country’s socio-economic development with tangible social and economic benefits, including:
Improved population access to socio-economic facilities and various activity centres (new tourist centres and industrial processing zones in the country’s south, central and north regions);Job creation in agriculture, fisheries, textile industries, etc.
In supporting the project, the Bank consolidates previous gains in terms of its comparative advantage in infrastructure. As such, infrastructure will continue to be the focus of its operations, particularly the transport sector which constitutes 47.14% of the current portfolio.
Project activities will start immediately following loan approval and will be completed late 2015.