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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €110 million (US$127 million) concessional loan with the Zambian Ministry of Finance in support of the Great North Road (T2), to be followed shortly by the signature of an EU grant of EUR 72.45 million that will complement EIB financing. The EIB and EU package will finance the 162 km stretch from Mpika to Chinsali.
The overall project, co-financed by the government and AfDB, will upgrade and widen some 372 kilometres of road between Mpika and Nakonde, making for both faster and safer travelling. It also includes the rehabilitation of about 50km of feeder roads and complementary initiatives in the area, as well as technical assistance. The T2 Upgrade is a key national project with a strong regional dimension, connecting Zambia to neighbouring Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Apart from creating better conditions for transport and communication, the project will contribute to provide economic and social opportunities, including better accessibility to markets, employment and additional investments both at national and regional levels. By unlocking and diversifying the country’s economic potential, the road upgrade is expected to promote inclusive growth and reduce poverty.
Safety measures will be introduced to reduce the risk of accidents for both road users and local communities. The design has taken into account that women use the road for more diverse needs and destinations (such as health centres and educational facilities) Finally, adaptation measures are considered to make the road more resilient to climate change, in particular with respect to the high risk of wild fire and flooding. Works contracts will be tendered according to international competitive bidding process.
The project is also part of several important international transport routes including the continental Trans-Africa Highway from Cape Town to Cairo. The reconstruction of the T2 will thus boost continental integration and help transform Zambia from a land-locked to a land-linked country.