February 20, 2024

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a loan of $115 million for Abia State for road rehabilitation, erosion control, and solid waste management.

AfDB’s board of directors in a statement said that the project will create permanent jobs, especially for the youth.

“With an estimated population of 553,000 and 814,000 respectively (2022 estimates), Umuahia, capital of Abia State, and Aba, the commercial hub, are currently facing serious infrastructure challenges arising from decades of underinvestment amidst rapid urbanisation,” AfDB said.

“When completed, the 1.37 million population in these two cities will benefit from reduced travel time, reduced vehicle operating costs and lower transport cost.”

“The project will also create 3,000 temporary jobs (30 per cent for women) at the construction phase, and about 1,000 permanent jobs during the operational phase.

“The permanent jobs will particularly benefit the youth, who will make up 50 per cent of the project.

“They will be trained in contract management by the State Youth Road Maintenance Corps for road maintenance, a body of young Abia engineers drawn from the 17 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the State.”

The bank said that financing for the project, estimated at a total cost of $263.80 million, would come through an AfDB loan of $100 million; a Canada–African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF) loan of $15 million and a $125 million co-financing loan from the Islamic Development Bank.

It noted that the Abia State government would provide $23.80 million in counterpart funding for compensation to people affected by the project and implementation of a Resettlement Action Plan.

The bank stated that under the project which was expected to be completed in 2029 a total of 248.46 km of road – 58.03 km of roads in Umuahia and 190.43 km of roads in Aba – would be rehabilitated to asphaltic concrete standards at varying cross sections.

It noted that erosion sites in Umuahia and Aba would be reinstated as well as preparatory studies undertaken for private sector participation in solid waste management for the two cities.

AfDB said the project would also include capacity building, project management and development of social infrastructure such as the rehabilitation of schools and the provision of sanitation facilities in schools, community markets and hospitals.

AfDB Director General for Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, said the project would build resilience by providing the town’s access to urban infrastructure services, including economic and social amenities.

“The results from the implementation of the project will help expand access to economic and social amenities in the two cities, and thereby contribute to building sustainable and liveable cities.”

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