The African Development Fund (ADF) today reported it had approved a loan of approximately US$ 5.4 million to finance the Mpharane - Bela Bela road upgrading project in Lesotho. This project is part of the 5-year (1996-2001) Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Programme (RRMP) stemmed from the 10-year National Transport Plan (1995-2004) financed by the ADF in 1993.
According to ADF, the objective of the project is to reduce vehicle operating and road maintenance costs by improving the quality and levels of transport services between Mpharane, Bela Bela, St. Theresa and Kolojane.
The project also seeks "to promote economic development and reduce poverty by improving the efficiency of the national transport infrastructure particularly in the rural areas," accoring to a statement by the Fund.
The project includes civil works, consultant services for pre-contracts, works and audit services supervision. It will involve the upgrading of 25 km of gravel road between Mpharane, Bela Bela, St. Theresa and Kolojane to a bitumen road standard of a width of 7.0-meter carriageway and 1.0 meter paved shoulders on either side.
- Furthermore, the construction works and maintenance activities of the road will provide the rural community with employment opportunities, ADF says. "The new road will also improve their access to health, education and market centres."
According to the Fund, the upgrading of the road will lead to a "substantial increase in the traffic levels resulting in improved exchanges through a better circulation of persons and goods." Finally, the overall improvement in road quality is expected to reduce dust levels in the air and improve run-off water drainage systems.
The ADF loan will finance 90 percent of the project, whose total cost is estimated at approximately US$ 6 million.