Austria- based intergovernmental development finance institution, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a $20 million worth loan agreement with The Gambia to fund the expansion of the Bertil-Harding Highway in the West African country.
The upgrading of the road infrastructure would enhance safety, reduce travel time and costs, and facilitate access to marketplaces, social amenities, and jobs for more than 520,000 people in the Greater Banjul Area.
The 22 km-long Bertil-Harding Highway is an important stretch that provides a link between Old Jeshwang and the Banjul International Airport, vital to the connectivity of the area. The expansion and upgrading of the Highway are co-financed with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and the Gambian government.
“The Gambia’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism, which requires a well-functioning transport network. Increasing connectivity through more efficient transportation will support integration and trade and further promote social and economic activity for the citizens of the Greater Banjul Area.”
The Gambia’s capital, Banjul has seen a tremendous population increase in recent years, but the city’s road transportation infrastructure remains underdeveloped, resulting in traffic jams and high transportation costs. As a result, the Gambian government has prioritized updating its road network as part of its National Transport Policy in order to improve accessibility and promote competitiveness and trade.
In addition to the current loan, OPEC Fund’s public sector commitments to The Gambia total close to $128 million supporting transportation, education, energy, and multi-sectoral projects.