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The purpose of the European Investment Bank (EIB) loan is to provide Réunion with a safe road link that will have a substantial socio-economic impact. The loan signature between the Réunion Region, represented by its President Didier Robert, and the EIB, represented by Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, is for a total amount of EUR 500m. Following this signature, a field visit to the New Coast Road site will enable the EIB members present to gauge the progress of the stages already under way.

The New Coast Road (NCR) is a large-scale project with singular technical features, which will have a major impact on user safety and the economic development of the Region. It will provide the island with a safe 12km-long three-lane dual carriageway (including two lanes reserved for public transport), linking Saint Denis to La Possession in the west. This section is a vital arterial route for the island's economy: with ever-increasing traffic now reaching nearly 20 million vehicles a year, it connects the two main employment centres – the port in the west and the airport in the north of the island.

The New Coast Road will replace the existing RN1 in 2020. It will be built at a safe distance from the cliff face thanks to the construction of mixed infrastructure combining causeways and viaducts (six causeway and two viaduct sections) and will guarantee local residents and tourists optimal safety all year long in contrast to the existing road, which is exposed to major natural risks such as falling rocks and high seas. The project is expected to create nearly 3 000 jobs (direct and indirect) throughout the duration of the works.

Special attention will be paid to the project's environmental aspects, including the creation of artificial reefs and ecological corridors to preserve terrestrial ecosystems and the installation of a water purification and treatment plant to preserve marine ecosystems, etc.

"Developing efficient, safe infrastructure is vital for the economic attractiveness and tourism appeal of Réunion Island. I am delighted therefore to be signing this finance contract for a regional and European project geared towards the shared objective of innovation and competitiveness", remarked EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle at the signing ceremony. "By supporting such investment, we are encouraging a revival of growth and employment in Réunion while at the same time improving the daily lives of those living on the island."

"The Réunion Region is the first overseas regional authority to have signed such a large finance contract with the EIB", stated Didier Robert, President of the Region. "The trust placed in the Réunion Region by the leading EU bank is a testament to the regional authority's robust financial health and the soundness of the NCR project in the eyes of our investors. With the signature of this loan contract, the Region is completing the finance package for the New Coast Road on exceptional borrowing terms, so enabling us to meet our balanced budget target."

This long-term loan on attractive terms thanks to the Bank's AAA rating will help to optimise the project's overall financing plan. The French Government, the EU and Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) have also contributed to financing this New Coast Road project.