The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing institution of the European Union, announces its latest loan in support of Algeria's motorway system. This EUR 45 million(1) credit advanced to the Republic of Algeria via the Algerian Development Bank brings aggregate Bank lending for this country's motorway network since 1990 to EUR 151 million. The new credit facility will help to finance three sections, over a total distance of 80km, of the East-West Motorway to the south of Algiers. The initial construction phase of the project has already attracted aggregate Bank funding worth EUR 106 million and the EIB is contemplating committing a subsequent credit of EUR 95 million to set the seal on successful completion of the sections in question.

Algeria's motorway construction programme, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works, Regional Development, the Environment and Town Planning (MTP), is centred on establishing the country's East-West Corridor, an arterial road scheme designed to link Algeria with neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia and to serve Algeria's major urban centres. The portion of the Corridor on Algerian territory dovetails with the regional motorway web linking all five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union and will thus contribute to promoting regional trade flows within North Africa.

The EIB plays a leading role in implementing the EU's "Euro-Mediterranean Partnership" and achieving its priority objectives. In this context, a new mandate has been established for the period 2000-2006 to finance to the tune of EUR 6 425 million capital projects in the 12 non-member Mediterranean Countries signatories to cooperation and/or association agreements with the Union. Since 1992, the Bank has advanced close on one billion euro in all for financing projects in Algeria's energy, transport and environmental sectors.

(1) EUR 1 = DZD 66.85; FRF 6.55957; USD 0.971400.