The World Bank on Monday approved a 370 million dollars credit, to help Ethiopia further expand its transportation system and provide safe and efficient roads to its citizens.
The new Expressway Development Support Project is designed to help Ethiopia overcome some of the challenges regarding limited size and poor quality of roads.
Limited size and poor quality of roads has been a major constraint to economic growth and poverty reduction in Ethiopia.
To address this challenge, Ethiopia with support from several development partners including the World Bank has been engaged in expanding its road network.
The nation launched the Road Sector Development Program (RSDP) in 1997 to expand quality roads.
Under RSDP, Ethiopia’s road network has more than tripled from 26,550km to 99,522km, and 70 percent of the road is now in good or fair condition compared with 22 percent at the start of the program.
Despite these achievements, the road network has not kept up with the needs of Ethiopia’s fast growth and economic transformation.
The project will support the construction of the 57 km Batu/Zeway- Arsi Negele portion of the Modjo- Hawassa new high capacity highway, connecting the southern region to central and northern Ethiopia, as well as the Djibouti port, the country’s main trade route.
The corridor forms essential part of the Trans East African Highway that connects Ethiopia to Kenya and southern Africa.
The development of the 203 km Modjo-Hawassa expressway is a collaborative effort among Ethiopia and several development partners, and sets a positive example of harmonization and cooperation among traditional and non-traditional development partners.
The African Development Bank is financing the construction of 57km, the Korea EXIM Bank 37 km, and the remaining 52km will be financed by the China EXIM Bank.
The project will also set the framework for expressway development through the preparation of a strategic master plan and the provision of institutional capacity building.
In addition, it will provide road safety and institutional development support to the Ministry of Transport.
The project is consistent with the Bank Group's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the 2013-16 fiscal years, which aims to foster competitiveness and employment.
The Ethiopian Roads Authority will be responsible for the implementation of the expressway construction, the framework for expressway development and institutional strengthening components.
The Ministry of Transport will implement the Road Safety and the institutional development support to the transport sector