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Nigeria may get another $500 million loan from World Bank to boost rural access, agricultural marketing 

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The Federal Government of Nigeria is on the verge of securing another loan worth $500 million from the World Bank to bolster rural access and agricultural marketing in the country. 

According to information obtained from the bank, this initiative dubbed the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project – Scale Up (RAAMP-SU), is designed to bridge the gap between rural communities and the broader marketplace, facilitating smoother access to agricultural markets, schools, and hospitals and promoting social cohesion among rural populations. 

Set against the backdrop of an estimated appraisal date of July 16, 2024, the new loan project has an anticipated board approval date of November 28, 2024. 

Although the project is estimated to cost $550 million, the World Bank is offering a commitment amount of $500 million. The new commitment amount is 79% higher than the initial World Bank commitment amount of $280 million for the parent project. 

With implementation planned to begin in the fiscal year of 2025, the RAAMP-SU project aims to enhance the infrastructural and institutional framework necessary for developing, maintaining, and managing Nigeria’s rural road network. 

Focusing on extending connectivity and reinforcing the transport infrastructure, the project seeks to directly link rural communities with vital agro-logistics hubs alongside essential social amenities. 

The RAAMP-SU initiative expands the original RAAMP project to include additional states previously excluded due to fiscal constraints induced by inflation and currency fluctuation.

This scale-up emphasises not only the physical construction of rural access roads but also the institutional fortification through the establishment of operational Rural Access Road Agencies (RARA) and State Road Funds (SRF), the implementation of Road Asset Management Systems, and the enhancement of road safety management protocols. 

Moreover, the project is set to embrace digital outcome monitoring, skill development for rural road management, and the creation of gender-targeted opportunities, reflecting a comprehensive approach to rural development. 

The Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is designated as the lead coordinating body, with support extended by various State Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including those focused on Works, Environment, and Women’s Affairs. 

Originating as a successor to the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), RAAMP has already witnessed substantial support from international financiers, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD). 

With a previous World Bank funding commitment of $280 million out of a $575 million total project cost, the fresh funding seeks to escalate the project’s impact from 19 to all 36 states of Nigeria, heralding a new era of rural development and agricultural efficiency. 

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