By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia has secured over ten million Euros three-year feeder road rehabilitation project.
The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNOPS and NRA meant to rehabilitate and help maintain around 104 km of rural roads in the upper, north and central river regions.
The project will construct feeder roads in the vulnerable communities from Kerewan-Njawara, Chamoi- Dampha Kunda- Tambasansang, Yoro beri Kunda- Galleh Manda, Illiasa- katchang BajaKunda- Boro Kandeh kasseh and other places of rural Gambia.
“Various studies have shown that socio- economic development is closely associated with road transportation and that poverty is more pervasive in areas with no or unreliable road access. The availability of a well-maintained road network, including feeder roads is seen to bridge the poverty gap by connecting communities more easily to facilities such as markets, schools and health centres” said PS Ministry of works Mariama Ndure Njie at the launch of the project at the Kairaba.
She said the project is in line with the new government’s commitment in poverty reduction and nutrition security.
She said the poor condition of feeder roads limits ease to access by various communities and the project will enhance access to social facilities and markets in the target rural areas, improve management of road network and will also seek to address the issue of road maintenance and reduce overloading of trucks.
PS Ndure Njie added that under the project, technical assistance and trainings to will be provided to NRA in material engineering, data records and network planning to increase its performance in road maintenance.
“Another challenge that will be addressed under the road maintenance is axle load control. The government’s approach to heavy vehicle management has been to endorse its importance in consort with other West African nations as part of the development of a regional initiative to curb overloading,” she said.
The European Union Ambassador to the Gambia Attila Lajos, said the EU as a global actor wants to have a global partnership with the Gambia adding that a donor round table conference is to take place early next year that will provide the country a unique opportunity to attract more investment to finance the new National Development Plan 2018-21.
“I am very pleased to announce that since the beginning of the year, we have now multiplied by seven our financial commitments to the Gambia and these commitments unlike many are grants and not loans,” Mr. Lajos added.
UNOPS country manager Nick Hodgson said: “UNOPS is excited to participate in this feeder roads and capacity building programme that will benefit the end users of the feeder roads and those responsible for road management including routine maintenance.”
Mr. Hodgson added that UNOPS is also pleased to directly contribute to “sustainable development Goals 1 and 8.”