World Bank grants Botswana $186 mln in aid to transport project

14:56, November 18, 2009      

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Botswana has received 186 million U. S. dollars from the World bank in loan to finance its Integrated Transport Project, according to official sources.

The project is aimed at facilitating cross-border activities as part f the country’s regional integration efforts. It is estimated to cost 385 million dollars, involving the development of road and rail linkages to Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.

The government of Botswana will cover the deficit of the funding with a 159 million dollars injection and the OPEC fund for international development has pledged a sum of 40 million dollars.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the loan agreement in Gaborone on Monday evening, newly appointed Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo said the project will spur economic growth in Botswana and the region at large, while reducing traffic congestion.

Country Director for Botswana Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland Ruth Kagia signed the loan agreement on behalf of the World Bank.

Although Botswana has not received assistance from the Bretton Woods institutions as much as other African states due to its middle income status, the World Bank has a long standing collaboration with the diamond rich southern African country, giving it technical and financial assistance. Of late the bank support has been mainly in the form of finances to fight the deadly HIV/AIDS pandemic, as Botswana has the highest infection rate on the continent. 

Source: Xinhua
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