With the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD), the Federal Government has finalized a tripartite deal to devote $575 million to the building of rural roads in 13 states across the nation.
Before the project, which started in March of last year and would end in 2026, was completed, a total of 53, 730 kilometers (km) of rural roads would be built.
Aminu Bodinga Muhammad, the National Coordinator of the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), said at the conclusion of a two-week Third Implementation Support Review Mission meeting in Abuja at the weekend that all but one of the 13 participating states had yet to receive the take-off disbursement.
The initial goal of this unique rural road intervention is to build 5921 roads totaling 53,730 km in order to bring wealth back to farmers of all ages and genders, with young people and women as the main targets.
In the end, Mohammed said at the gathering, “an elite club of farmers will emerge and a new crop of successful market men and women would take over the corporate world.” Olatunji Ahmed, the task team lead (TTL) for the World Bank’s transportation sector, Francois Giroudy, the TTL for AFD, Antonio Le Bihan, the project manager for AFD, and Dr. Kush Peter, a representative of the project coordinating unit, all attended the meeting.
The World Bank will expedite the project with “no objection,” the national coordinator promised, adding that the International Labour Organization (ILO) had indicated its willingness to provide both financial and technical assistance for the rural road project.
Ahmed asked the states to adhere to the disbursement “draw down protocol” in a sideline interview in order to prevent potential backlash.
The creation of the state road fund and the rural access road agency (SRF, RARA), he continued, should be accelerated by the states because their existence would assure the institutional and financial sustainability of the project, particularly after it was completed.
The Ogun State Project Coordinator, Murtala Adekunle, stated during his presentation at the conference that the support provided by the governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to the smallest players in the value chain, enabled the project to reach its milestones.
He stated that the 13.1 km demonstration rural road between Mosa Junction and Alapako Oni would be awarded this year at the beginning of the dry season and added that “all safeguard instruments, both social and environmental, have been put in place for the success of the pilot construction.”