x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Trans-Benin highway to be funded by Abu Dhabi

One of the poorest countries in West Africa will be linked to its neighbours by a new 75km highway being financed by the Abu Dhabi Government.

ABU DHABI // One of the poorest countries in West Africa will be linked to its neighbours by a new 75km highway being financed by the Abu Dhabi Government. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development yesterday signed an agreement for a Dh36.73 million (US$10m) concessionary loan to build the road in Benin, where an estimated 50 per cent of the population live on the equivalent of less than $1 each per day.

The agreement was signed by Mohammed Saif al Suwaidi, acting director general of the Fund, and Essa Musa Torry, Benin's ambassador to the UAE. "Empowering the republic of Benin with a key, modern roadway will facilitate the smooth movement of individuals and vehicles between key cities, thus supporting the government's plan to revitalise and expedite social and economic progress," Mr al Suwaidi said.

The road will connect Benin to Togo in the west and Nigeria in the east. It will "bolster the scope for business and commercial activities," Mr al Suwaidi said. The decision to develop the highway came after a feasibility study was conducted in the region. Work will begin this year. The development fund was established in 1971 to assist the financing of projects in developing countries through loans and other financial assistance.

aseaman@thenational.ae