Arab bank to lend Zambia $90 mln for key road

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa has approved a $90 million loan to Zambia to build a road that will link it to Angola and boost regional trade, the bank’s CEO said on Friday.

State ZANIS news agency reported that Abdelaziz Khelef, the bank’s director-general, had met Zambian Vice-President George Kunda to discuss the loan, which will be used for constructing the Kalabo-Angola road.

The bank is funded by Arab governments and was set up to strengthen cooperation between Arab and African countries.

Kunda said the road would help strengthen trade ties between the two neighbours, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in the region.

The road is also expected to enhance regional integration which is critical for Africa’s development, Kunda said.

Landlocked Zambia, Africa’s largest copper producer, also plans to construct a railway line from the mineral-rich copperbelt to the border with Angola to link with the Benguela line, which runs up to the Atlantic port of Lobito.

The Benguela line used to be an important link between oil-rich Angola and Zambia but was badly damaged during Angola’s decade-long civil war.

The World Bank says Africa needs to invest more than $90 billion a year to drag its dreadful roads, railways and power grids into the 21st century. In November, China announced a $10 billion, three-year infrastructure investment and aid package for the continent.

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