July 16, 2024
Driving Progress: Comorians Celebrates Transformative Road Built with African Development Bank Support
Driving Progress: Comorians Celebrates Transformative Road Built with African Development Bank Support
– By Alison Godswill

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Driving Progress: Comorians Celebrates Transformative Road Built with African Development Bank Support

 

The people of the Union of the Comoros are celebrating the completion of a major road that will open up its agriculturally rich areas and provide reliable access to its popular tourist centres.

Thousands of Comorians turned up to witness the official opening of the $30 million road artery financed entirely by the African Development Bank.

The President of the Union of the Comoros  Azali Assoumani, and the President of the African Development Bank Group  Dr Akinwumi Adesina, inaugurated the 49.2-kilometre section of the National Road 2 (RN2) on Friday 5 July, on the eve of the country’s 49th independence celebrations.

Opening of the road section linking Moroni, the capital of Grande Comore (the main island of the Comoros archipelago), to Foumbouni region in the island’s south-east represents a major addition to the country’s much needed transport infrastructure development to serve as a catalyst for economic progress of the Comoros.

The new road is expected to offer huge benefits, including a 27% increase in average daily traffic along the route as well as reducing operating costs by 30% for cars  and 33% for trucks. The roadway will reduce average journey times by 50%.

During the inauguration ceremony, President Assoumani acknowledged the support provided for completion of the road and thanked  Dr Adesina for being present at the occasion.

“We are permanent partners. It is thanks to the African Development Bank and the intervention of its president, my dear brother Akinwumi Adesina, that we have built this road. We must continue to thank and encourage him,” President Assoumani said during his speech.

“This road will have a considerable impact on people’s lives. It plays an essential role in opening up areas with high economic potential for agriculture and tourism. It is the only access road to the popular tourist towns of Ouroveni and Male”, said Dr Adesina.  “I think we should even think of renaming this RN2 road ‘The Road of Hope,'” he added.

The upgrading of this section of the RN2 was undertaken in two phases. The first 11-kilometre section was completed in 2021 and a second section of 38.2 km was opened for traffic in June 2024.

“Improving connectivity is essential to enable Comoros to participate effectively in regional and global value chains, particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area and in view of Comoros’ accession to the World Trade Organization,” said Adesina.

The African Development Bank has also invested in other areas to strengthen the Comoros economy, including the empowerment of women and young people, job creation, capacity-building for the country’s technical agencies, and institutional support for the government.

The Bank’s Board of Directors is expected shortly to review the extension of $136 million in grants for Comoros to deepen integration in the regional integration, including for the rehabilitation and extension of the port of Moroni, the expansion of the port of Boingoma, and the establishment of economic zones.

“This project will be the largest ever supported by the African Development Bank in the history of its partnership with the Comoros”, said Dr Adesina.

The Bank Group has provided financial and technical assistance to the National Road Network Rehabilitation Programme since 2017. The programme was set up by the Comorian government to carry undertake large-scale road-network improvements.

African Development Bank a key partner of the Comoros

The African Development Bank is the Comoros’ principal development partner for the country’s transport infrastructure. In its 2021-2025 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for the Comoros, the Bank undertakes to support the country’s government to create sustainable, high-quality transport infrastructure that can open up the regions of the archipelago and strengthen their connectivity.

The CSP also targets overcoming fragility and strengthening the country’s resilience in order to promote structural transformation and emergence of the archipelago through the development of basic transport and energy infrastructure.

As of 30 June 2024, the Bank Group’s portfolio for the Comoros comprised 10 projects with total commitments of $106.7 million. Operations in the transport sector account for 78% of the total portfolio, followed by energy (9%), agriculture (8%) and multi-sector (5%) projects.

The Bank also plans to provide financing of around $182.5 million in the period 2024-2025, tapping funding sourced from the African Development Fund (ADF) (https://apo-opa.co/3XVbNo4) to support structuring projects as part of the Emerging Comoros Plan 2030 (ECP 2030). Most of this financing will be directed to the transport and energy sectors. Further financing for development in the Comoros will be mobilised from sources including the Climate Action Window, an ADF mechanism that aims to raise at least $4 billion of which 75%  will go towards climate adaptation in the most vulnerable African countries.

Strategically located in the Mozambique Channel, between East Africa and islands of the Indian Ocean, the Union of the Comoros is at the junction of several trade routes.

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