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Nigeria seeks $500m World Bank loan to fix rural roads, food price hike



The Nigerian federal government is seeking a $500 million loan from the World Bank to fix rural roads, improve access to agricultural products nationwide, and tackle food price hikes.

The Washington-based lender stated that the funds will address the needs of 92 million people in rural areas lacking good road networks.

The Nigerian government made the funding request in the final draft of the Resettlement Policy Framework for the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project Scale-Up, implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The RAAMP-SU project will finance three key components: Improvement of Resilient Rural Access ($387 million), Climate-Resilient Asset Management ($158 million), and Institutional Strengthening and Project Management ($55 million).

The total cost of the project is estimated at $600 million, with the World Bank expected to provide 83.33% of the required funding. This commitment amount is 79% higher than the initial World Bank commitment of $280 million for the parent project.

According to the policy document, participating states will be required to have a fully functional Roads Fund and Roads Agency with appointed boards and staff, and provisions for administrative costs in the state budget.

“Rural access is particularly restricted in areas densely populated by the economically disadvantaged. These factors underscore the imperative to expand and enhance the rural road network, as well as conserve rural road and transport assets.

“While eligibility for state participation under RAAMP required the drafting and placement of Road Fund and Roads Agency bills in the State Houses of Assembly, the new project would require the States to have a fully functional Roads Fund and Roads Agency with appointed boards and staff, and provision for administrative costs made in the state budget. Additionally, RARAs offer an opportunity to foster women’s representation in the transport sector,” the document noted.

The development comes as food inflation continues to rise in Nigeria. In April 2024, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Nigeria’s food inflation rose to 40.53%.

Experts have blamed insecurity, energy costs, and the high cost of transportation for food price hikes in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the total debt stock of Nigeria at the end of 2023 stood at N97.341 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office.

Nigeria’s debt figure included foreign debt, which stood at N38.22 trillion, accounting for 39% of the total debt stocks as of the end of 2023.

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