AfDB Approves $115 Million Loan to Abia for Road Rehabilitation and Erosion Control
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has granted approval for a loan of $115 million to support a significant road rehabilitation project in Abia State, Nigeria. In an announcement made by the Nigeria Country Department of the bank, it was revealed that the project aims to rehabilitate roads, implement erosion control infrastructure, and establish solid waste management facilities in the state capital, Umuahia, and the commercial hub, Aba.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $263.80 million, with financing coming from various sources. The AfDB loan accounts for $100 million, while an additional $15 million will be provided by the Canada–AfDB Climate Fund (CACF). The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will contribute $125 million as co-financing. The Abia State government will also provide $23.80 million as counterpart funding for compensating affected individuals and implementing a Resettlement Action Plan.
The project encompasses a total of 248.46 kilometers of road, with 58.03 kilometers in Umuahia and 190.43 kilometers in Aba. These roads will be rehabilitated to asphaltic concrete standards, considering varying cross sections. Additionally, the project will reinstate erosion sites in Umuahia and Aba and conduct preparatory studies for private sector involvement in solid waste management for both cities. Other elements of the project include capacity building, project management, and the development of social infrastructure such as schools, sanitation facilities, community markets, and hospitals.
Umuahia and Aba, with estimated populations of 553,000 and 814,000 respectively (2022 estimates), currently face significant infrastructure challenges resulting from decades of underinvestment and rapid urbanization. These challenges are exacerbated by gully erosion and the accumulation of substantial piles of solid waste on the roads. Once the project is completed by 2029, the combined population of 1.37 million in these two cities will benefit from reduced travel time, lower vehicle operating costs, and decreased transportation expenses.
Moreover, the project aims to generate employment opportunities. During the construction phase, it is expected to create 3,000 temporary jobs, with 30% reserved for women. In the operational phase, around 1,000 permanent jobs will be established, with a focus on empowering youth who will comprise 50% of the project workforce. These young individuals will receive training in contract management from the State Youth Road Maintenance Corps, which consists of young Abia engineers recruited from the 17 Local Government Areas of the State.
Lamin Barrow, the Director-General of AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department, emphasized that the project will enhance resilience and provide urban infrastructure services, economic opportunities, and social amenities to the towns. Barrow expressed confidence that the project’s implementation will contribute to the development of sustainable and livable cities in Abia State.
As of now, AfDB’s portfolio in Nigeria encompasses 48 operations totaling $4.2 billion. The majority, 90%, is allocated to national (Federal and States) operations, consisting of 41 projects amounting to $3.79 billion. The remaining 10% is allocated to multinational operations, covering seven projects with a total value of $0.41 billion. The portfolio comprises 24 Sovereign Operations, representing 56% of total commitments ($2.36 billion), and 24 Non-Sovereign Operations, accounting for 44% ($1.84 billion).