Construction works are set to begin to widen a strategic busy highway connecting Rwanda to the border with Tanzania.
The 92km Rusumo-Kayonza road will from November be rehabilitated and widened to accommodate busy traffic of heavy cargo trucks.
For this project, Rwanda has signed $184.1 million (Rwf 137.3 billion) loan agreement with African Development Bank ($94 million), Japan International Cooperation Agency ($68.4 million) and the European Union ($ 21.7 million).
This 6metre-wide highway is part of the Central Corridor that leads to Dar-es-Salaam Port-Tanzania. It will be extended to 7 metres wide.
“The project will make overland transportation smoother and decrease shipping costs,” said Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Finance Minister.
Before construction starts, Rwanda is set to first expropriate 565000 houses along the highway with total compensation valued at $12.5 million.
Rwanda will repay this loan in a period of 40 years with 10 years of grace period and an interest rate of 0.75% on AfDB loan, while JICA will charge 0.01% interest rate.
At the signing, Ambassador Negatu Makonnen the AfDB representative to Rwanda said; “this is the biggest project my bank financed since 1974 in Rwanda that will make a huge impact.”
Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda said it is their biggest commitment to Rwanda in the last 27 years.
“We are determined to contribute to Rwanda’s infrastructure development because the country uses loans efficiently.”
The loan is a second commitment by JICA to a mega project that links Rwanda to the central corridor.
Early this year, Presidents Paul Kagame and John Magufuli commissioned a Rwf 20.7 billion one-stop Rusumo border post linking the two countries. Its open 24hours daily.
Rwanda’s Trade Minister Francois Kanimba, 23,659 trucks cross Rusumo border carrying goods worth $1billion annually, compared to 18,380 trucks carrying goods worth $845 million through Gatuna, on the Northern Corridor, connecting Rwanda to Uganda.
The border post consists of a two lane international bridge that will handle 1000mt of weight-replacing a 40-year-old small bridge that had no capacity.