As part of its commitment to build competitive and diversified economies that bring about development, the French Development Agency (AFD) as well as the French Embassy in Nigeria and the Federal Government have signed a financial agreement to fund the implementation of the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP II) in Imo State.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, Mr. Denys Gauer, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, and Mr. André Hue, Deputy Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) office in Nigeria, signed the financing agreement of $60million.
The amount would be lent to the Imo State Government for the implementation of the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP II), already implemented in Adamawa, Enugu, Niger and Osun States.
Damilola Ayodeji, the Press Officer in the French Embassy, in a statement yesterday, explained that the money would be used to finance the rehabilitation of rural roads in Imo State.
According to the statement, “Nigeria has a relatively dense, but largely deteriorated road network due to lack of maintenance.
“The deterioration of the road networks deeply hinders economic activity, particularly in the agricultural sector, which contributes to 40per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 50 per cent of the population.
“In rural areas, nearly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. This situation is mainly due to the inaccessibility of these areas, and to the difficulties encountered by farmers in selling their produce in markets.
“The RAMP and its extension to Imo State co-financed by AFD and the World Bank will make rural areas more accessible and improve transport conditions for their population.”
Ayodeji noted that the programme was aimed at reducing poverty in rural areas and boosting the agricultural sector by developing rural transport infrastructure, which includes the rehabilitation of roads, building of bridges and other river-crossings and ensuring the maintenance of all rehabilitated roads and support Imo State in setting up pilot maintenance projects.