JBIC SIGNS ODA LOAN AGREEMENT First ODA loan to Kingdom of Swaziland
1. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC; Governor: Hiroshi Yasuda) signed a loan agreement on January 29(Japan time 21:30) to extend up to 4,412 million yen for the "Northern Main Road Construction Project" in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The agreement for the first ODA loan to this nation was concluded in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland.
2. The loan for the "Northern Main Road Construction Project" will provide financial support for procurement of goods, services, and consulting services necessary for the paving the main road, construction of drainage systems, and repair and building of bridges in the northern area of Swaziland. This region is the main producer of sugar and citrus fruits, the country's main exports.
3. Swaziland, with a population of 990,000 as of 1998 and land area of 17,000 square kilometers, is a small country that achieved independence from its British protectorate status in 1968. The country shares borders with the Republic of South Africa on all sides. Its economy mainly depends on exports of agricultural products and minerals. However, Swaziland is promoting development of domestic industries and strengthening linkages with neighboring countries in the region in its efforts to align itself with the progress toward integration among southern African economies. The region has been making strides toward fully adopting the democratic process since the early 1990s. In this context, there is urgent need to improve the main road that links Swaziland and neighboring countries including South Africa. It has significance not only for the country's future economic growth but for the well-balanced development of the region as well.
4. The project covers the northern section of the main road, a sub corridor of the Maputo Corridor that connects Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, and Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It stretches 103 km and links the major industrial zone located in the central part of Swaziland with the Maputo Corridor, the trunk road in the southern African region. The purpose of the project is to newly pave the road and to repair and construct bridges along the road, thus reducing the time and cost of vehicle travel. The project is expected to help ensure more efficient and faster distribution and to consequently contribute to development of industry in Swaziland and surrounding areas.