The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a loan of $252.83 million about UGX 960 billion to Uganda, to fund the construction of the Laropi-Moyo-Afoji and Katuna-Muko-Kamuganguzi road.
The financial support consists of two loans: $179.68 million from the African Development Bank and $73.15 million from the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional loan window.
“The Laropi-Moyo-Afoji/Katuna-Muko-Kamuganguzi road project is intended to improve rural transport connectivity and facilitate regional integration in the districts of Kabale, Rubanda, and Moyo, in Uganda. It will boost incomes, deepen regional integration, and facilitate trade while opening up an alternative transport corridor linking Uganda with South Sudan,”, said Augustine Ngafuan, the African Development Bank’s Country Manager in Uganda.
“Building this infrastructure will enable economic operators along this route to reduce costs and lead times while improving the efficiency of transport logistics,” added Mr. Ngafuan.
In addition to the two main roads, the project will also support the following social complementary initiative: 5 kilometers of roads in small towns and non-motorized traffic facilities (walkways and cycle tracks) within Moyo and Laropi in northwestern Uganda to improve mobility; street lighting to improve the business environment for traders, and regional bus terminus in Moyo.
The project also provides for the construction of market stalls complete with cold storage facilities in Kashasha/Katuna, Moyo, and Laropi to support women traders who currently operate on the roadsides, to improve earnings from perishable products such as fish and vegetables.
There will also be flood protection works in Laropi to strengthen resilience to the effects of climate change and reduce disruptions to commercial activities. Lastly, a one-stop border post will be constructed in Afoji/Jale on the Uganda-South Sudan border to boost trade and transport activities and facilitate the harmonization customs and coordination of the border-crossing operations and supply chains.
The Laropi-Moyo-Afoji road is located in northwestern Uganda, in the district of Moyo, which has a population of about 140,000. Some 80% of the district’s land is arable and suitable for agriculture and horticulture.
The Western Nile sub-region currently hosts more than 500,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The road will provide vital access to several refugee camps and support agricultural communities in Kabale and Rubanda districts, with a combined population of about 460,000 inhabitants.
As of November 2023, the African Development Bank Group’s active portfolio in Uganda comprised 23 projects with a total commitment of $1,957 million.
Uganda has invested significant resources in the development of a robust National Road Network with capabilities of easing internal mobility and international connectivity within the East and Central Africa Region.
Road infrastructure development is expected to anchor rapid socio-economic transformation of the country and communities subsisting in a wide impact zone and more specifically to those within the project area of influence in South Western Uganda.
The Katuna-Muko (66km), Muko-KachwekanoKamuganguzi (38km) road has been earmarked for development through a proposed African Development Bank (AfDB) funding.
The current gravel road is in a poor condition characterized by a narrow worn out carriageway and inadequate drainage with old pipe and concrete culverts yet it services a very rich agricultural hinterland and links spectacular potential tourism sites most especially Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park among other sites in Kabale, Rukiga, Kanungu, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Rubanda districts and beyond the boundaries of Uganda to DRC and Rwanda.
The proposed road for upgrade is part of a wider road network anchoring the tourism sector. The road links the South Western Uganda tourism hub of Mt. Mgahinga (Mgahinga National Park) and Lake Bunyonyi hub in Kabale to the Upper sections in Bwi ndi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and further to the North West. The proposed road for upgrade is anticipated to provide linkage to the districts of Southwestern Uganda to markets in regional urban areas including the cities of Mbarara and Fort Portal and Kabale. These districts are highly productive areas supplying the urban nucleus with crop and livestock products. The proposed road links will serve to facilitate mobility and development in one of the most resource rich areas of Uganda. It is anticipated that the road will stimulate rural economic development and uplift living conditions in the sub-region. With an improved road, the movement of agricultural produce to local, regional and national markets will be achieved.
Without the proposed road project, impeded access to markets by agriculturally rich areas in the South west region will continue to encumber socio-economic development. With better mobility and access to urban markets, women will be aided to participate in more productive and less labour-intensive economic activities such as agricultural processing, art and craft for sale to travellers and seek worker in urban areas.