TOP
Monday,October 19,2020 09:03 AM

World Bank grants sh484b for refugee roads

By Samuel Sanya

Added 15th September 2020 03:28 PM

Through the Uganda Forced Displacement Program, the Bank is providing grant finance to various interventions to support host communities and refugees.  

World Bank grants sh484b for refugee roads

(FILES)

Through the Uganda Forced Displacement Program, the Bank is providing grant finance to various interventions to support host communities and refugees.  

The World Bank has approved a $130.8m (sh484b) grant to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) from the International Development Association (IDA) for refugee roads and bridges in Uganda's West Nile sub-region.  
 
The financing will upgrade the 105-kilometre Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road from gravel to bitumen and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Uganda National Roads Authority to manage environmental, social, and road safety risks - the World Bank said in a statement.  

 When completed, the new roads will ease the movement of goods and people and improve access to social services and job opportunities in the refugee hosting districts in the of Uganda.  
 
Uganda currently hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa and the third-largest in the world. Around 57% of the 1.4 million refugees living in Uganda live in the northern region, having come from South Sudan and the DRC according to the World Bank. 
 
"This road project marks our re-engagement and strong support for the transport sector, a key development pillar in Uganda. We expect it to bring economic and social benefits to both hosting communities and refugees and reduce the income disparities between West Nile and the rest of Uganda," Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager said.  
 
He pointed out that Uganda is the "land bridge" for the rest of the Great Lakes region, connecting its landlocked neighbours to coastal countries, adding that the project will foster greater regional integration through trade with DRC and South Sudan, reduce travel time, and create employment for youth and women.  
 
The transport sector contributes to about 3% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). About 95% of freight traffic and 99% of passenger traffic takes place on Uganda's road network according to World Bank data.  
 
It is also pointed out that the traffic volume on the network has been growing at a rate of about 6%, causing unending traffic jams. About 54% of refugees still depend on humanitarian assistance as their main source of livelihood.  
 
The World Bank pointed out that the historical lack of development in West Nile, a sub-region in the North, combined with the continued inflow of refugees, has added to pressures on existing public services and infrastructure. 

It noted that most refugee settlements are in rural and remote locations that increase the challenges for local economic development, thereby posing significant development challenges to both refugees and host communities.  
 
The World Bank applauded the government's prioritised interventions that create economic opportunities that benefit both refugees and host communities as a means of enhancing self-reliance and alleviating pressure on existing public service delivery and infrastructure.  
 
The proposed road corridor is the lifeline for the host and the refugee population of the districts of Koboko, Yumbe and Moyo and passes close to Bidibidi (the most populous refugee settlement in Africa), Lobule, and Palorinya refugee settlements directly impacting 360,177 refugees and indirectly benefiting 810,529 refugees within the region.  
 
Pratap Tvgssshrk, the Senior Transport Specialist and World Bank's Task Team Leader for the project said that this road corridor connects DRC and South Sudan through Uganda, and it is an alternate route to reach the northern part of the country from Kampala and many other parts of Uganda.  
 
"This will provide a safe and reliable conduit for travel of goods and people all through the year, thereby contributing to the economic growth of the region," Tvgssshrk said.   
 
The Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo project complements other transport investments by the World Bank Group in Uganda. The Bank is also financing the rehabilitation of the 340km Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini road under the Uganda North Eastern Road-corridor Asset Management Project and construction of the 100km of the Kyenjonjo-Kabwoya road under the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project.  
 
Through the Uganda Forced Displacement Program, the Bank is providing grant finance to various interventions to support host communities and refugees.  
 
Social services and community infrastructure are being strengthened and sustainably managed in the West Nile under the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project, the Uganda Secondary Education Expansion Project and the pipeline Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Project.  
 
Uganda Integrated Water Management and Development Project is transitioning humanitarian water supplies to sustainable development managed utilities.  
 
The Investing in Forests and Protected Areas for Climate-Smart Development Project plans to strengthen forestry and land degradation which will complement environmental safeguards of the road construction.  
 
According to the World Bank, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) will implement the project in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. 
 
The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding for Uganda and has financed 10 transport operations in Uganda since 1965. The Bank's current portfolio in Uganda comprises 24 operations for a total commitment of $2.8b (sh10.4 trillion).  

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author