The states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) have significant transport infrastructure needs. The 276 km long Ndende-Doussala-Dolisie road is an unpaved section of the international road linking Libreville and Brazzaville, the two capital cities of the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Gabon to the South. Being a key missing link of the Libreville-Brazzaville corridor which is part of the Tripoli-Windhoek Trans-African Highway, it has been identified as a priority project by the Central African Consensual Transport Master Plan.The construction and rehabilitation of this road section between the two capital cities will reduce transport costs and travel time, increase trade and regional integration, and allow easier access to the port of Pointe-Noire in Congo, another EU-AITF supported project. Among the project beneficiaries are regional farmers, who face difficulties to access markets during the eight months of the rainy season, when the road is barely passable; and women and children, who will benefit from easier access to healthcare. The project has been adopted by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and is part of the PIDA Priority Action Plan. The AfDB Loan agreement with the Republic of Congo has been ratified by the Parliament. However, the government of Gabon finally decided to forgo the AfDB loan in March 2016. This may result in jeopardizing some of the cross-border activities which implementation requires a certain level of coordination between the two countries involved in the project.
The EU-AITF Technical Assistance grant will be used to finance the recruitment of an international consulting firm to strengthen the existing project management capacity at ECCAS for the implementation of this multinational project. It will enable a rapid start-up, ensure effective implementation of the project and prevent significant procurement and contract management delays seen in previous multinational transport projects. In addition, the grant will enable the establishment of a joint border post between the two countries and of a human-wildlife conflict management system for the Mont Reserve Fouari at the Congo-Gabon border. The contract with the selected firm for the TA has been signed in November 2015 and the TA team has started its assignment during February 2017.