The project to modernise and build 348 kilometres of roads costs €235.5 million, including a grant of €116 million from the European Union and a loan of €110 million from the European Investment Bank, as well as financing worth €4.8 million from the Republic of Madagascar. A total of €100.4 million has already been paid to the Republic of Madagascar under this operation since 2016.
The European Union’s Global Gateway strategy
European Investment Bank financing to improve Madagascar’s road networks is part of the European Union’s strategy to support global transport connections. The European Union set up the Global Gateway strategy in 2021 to develop smart, clean and secure links in the digital, energy and transport fields and to strengthen health, education and research systems worldwide. The Global Gateway intends to mobilise up to €300 billion of investment in key infrastructure around the world between 2021 and 2027.
“The Global Gateway really is at the core of what we at the European Investment Bank are doing outside the European Union,” says Sven Röben, head of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument Unit at EIB Global, the European Investment Bank’s arm for operations outside the European Union.
Planning for safer roads
The European Investment Bank granted €4.7 million to the RN 6 and RN 13 roads project for technical assistance, which included audits of road safety that looked at road users and pedestrians.
“Safety is very important when planning road improvements,” says the EU bank’s Savall. “Decisions to change traffic flows must protect against increasing casualties. While sometimes painted concrete road signs are the only option, it's very dangerous, because if cars collide with concrete the risk of mortality is increased. So audits for safety are very important to make sure road improvements are done well”.
“The RN 6 crosses a number of villages and settlements, with many schools located on the road corridor. At the moment, the dilapidated condition of the road means traffic can’t travel fast, but the project will most certainly lead to a sharp increase of vehicle speed and risk of collisions. We are therefore integrating a set of safety measures all along the road to mitigate this risk and force road users to slow down in urban areas,” explains Sarrat.
Building resilient roads, training skilled labour
The road construction project on the RN 13 has created opportunities for local people to gain job skills and employment.
“The region near the RN13 is very remote in Madagascar and is very poor,” says Benoit Turmine, director of infrastructure contractor Colas, who heads the road project at Fort Dauphin. “Unfortunately, it is an area with low agricultural capital. We are promoting manpower by training participants to be masons, carpenters, frame workers, and metal workers. Our expectation is that the workers we train will go on to train others.’’
New and repaired roads are built to international standards, often replacing dirt tracks that are swept away during cyclones. Some stretches of the roads have bridges. These structures have been strengthened to improve their resilience to adverse climate events.
“The design of all bridges and hydraulic structures has been updated to take account of climate change, and the pavement structure of the RN6 has been reinforced to comply with modern standards,” Sarrat explains.