May 25, 2007

World Bank loan for roads and bridges

The World Bank has approved a loan of 100 million US dollars to support the second phase of Mozambique's Roads and Bridges Management and Maintenance project. The Bank describes the roads project as "part of a ten-year programme designed to help stimulate growth and contribute to poverty reduction through improved road infrastructure, better sector policies and enhanced road sector management". The objective, it continues, is to improve access to all-season roads through maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading of the classified road network. It should also help in placing the country in its critical and strategic role as the transport provider for neighbouring landlocked countries, while opening external markets for trade. According to the release, the loan is on standard IDA terms. These are a "commitment fee", of 0.35 percent, a service charge of 0.75 percent, and a repayment period of 40 years, which includes a 10 year grace period.
The World Bank Board furthermore approved the "Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway and Coastal Contamination Prevention" programme, which is intended to protect marine and coastal resources in the western Indian Ocean. According to the bank the programme would focus on Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa "to reduce risks of environmental damage to beaches, fishing grounds and other domestic resources from oil or chemical spills".
The programme, the Bank claims, "will prevent ship-based environmental contamination, such as oil spills from groundings and illegal discharges of ballast and bilge waters, and strengthen the capacity of countries to respond to oil or chemical spill emergencies in the region". The programme will be financed by a grant of 11 million dollars from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The World Bank is one of the GEF's implementing agencies. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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