The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has granted a $115 million loan for Abia State for road reconstruction, erosion prevention, and solid waste management.
The initiative will generate long-term employment, particularly for the youth, according to a statement from the AfDB board of directors.
Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, and Aba, the business center, are currently dealing with major infrastructure issues as a result of decades of underinvestment amid rapid urbanization, according to forecasts for 2022 of their respective populations of 553,000 and 814,000.
“When completed, the 1.37 million residents of these two cities will benefit from decreased travel time, decreased vehicle operating costs, and decreased transport costs.”
Additionally, the project will generate roughly 1,000 permanent jobs during the operational phase and 3,000 temporary jobs (30% of which will go to women) during the construction phase.
The youth, who will make up 50% of the initiative, will notably benefit from the permanent jobs.
The State Youth Road Maintenance Corps, a group of young Abia engineers recruited from the State’s 17 Local Government Areas (LGA), will teach them in contract management.
The project’s anticipated $263.80 million total cost would be financed, according to the bank, by a $100 million loan from the AfDB, a $15 million loan from the Canada-African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF), and a $125 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank.
It was stated that the Abia State government will contribute $23.80 million as counterpart funds for the project’s compensation to those affected and the execution of a Resettlement Action Plan.
The bank indicated that a total of 248.46 km of roads—58.03 km of roads in Umuahia and 190.43 km of roads in Aba—would be rehabilitated to asphaltic concrete standards at different cross sections as part of the project, which was due to be finished in 2029.
It stated that erosion areas of Umuahia and Aba would be restored and that studies would be conducted in advance of the private sector getting involved in the two cities’ solid waste management.
According to the AfDB, the initiative will also focus on enhancing organizational capabilities, managing projects, and creating social infrastructure, including rehabilitating schools and installing sanitary facilities in them as well as in community markets and hospitals.
By giving the communities access to urban infrastructure services, including as economic and social amenities, the initiative will increase resilience, according to Lamin Barrow, Director General of the AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department.
The project’s results will increase access to social and economic facilities in the two communities, which will aid in the development of sustainable and livable cities.