EU to give Ethiopia $600m to build more rural roads

The European Union (EU) will provide €540m ($617m) in financing to Ethiopia over the next five years to help the government build roads in rural areas.

The results achieved in the road sector are remarkable– Antonio Capone, infrastructure leader, EU delegation

The funding is designed to continue what is being called a "remarkable" expansion of the country’s road network, from 26,000km in 1997 to 100,000km last year, local media report.

Since 1997 the EU has invested €400m in road improvements in Ethiopia, which is experiencing high economic growth.

An EU delegation announced the new package in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, last week, reports New Business Ethiopia.

"The results achieved in the road sector are remarkable," said Antonio Capone, infrastructure leader of the EU delegation.

He said the average travel time in rural areas to reach an all-season road has been cut to less than two hours, while in 2007 it was four and a half hours.

"The percentage of population living within 2 kilometres from an all-weather road has increased each year by 2% and today more than 65% of kebeles (local districts) have access to the national road network including during the rainy season," Capone said.

Photograph: On the road to Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia (A. Davey/Wikimedia Commons)

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