By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 22, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian government said today that it will invest billions of dollars over the coming five years to enhance the road sector development program of the country.
The Ethiopian Road Authority (ERA) said it will construct 82,500 kilometers of roads across nation with a cost of 122 billion Birr (some 8.9 Billion USD) during the specified period of time.
The program is part of a five-year development and transformation plan. Ethiopia sees its economy to grow by 15% and believes it will bring an end to its dependence on foreign food.
Ethiopian Road Authority Director General, Zaid Woldegebriel, during a meeting held to discuss the five-year road sector development program, said currently country’s total road coverage stands at 49,000 kilometers and this figure will be boosted up to 136,000 kilometers, under the new plan, in five years.
However, she said that there is financial short to meet the plan citing the already secured four Billion USD to accomplish the road expansion plan.
According to state Ministry of Work and Urban Development, the Horn of Africa’s country has spent some 3 billion USD to construct over 10 thousand kilometers of roads during the past five years, a first phase of the ten-year Road Sector Development Programme.
Ethiopia’s Road Sector Development Programme aims to rehabilitate, expand and upgrade the road network which still remains in poor state.
Ethiopia has registered an average 10.2% economic growth for the past seven years in a row and the road sector development program that is believed to further shoulder the economic growth of the country via transport links.
The major donors to the programme are World Bank, the European Union (EU) and the Department for International Development, UK ( DFID)
In June, The Ethiopian government and the World Bank signed a $100 million loan agreement to support the massive road construction projects in the country.