January 26, 2017 / 2:07 PM / 3 years ago

AfDB says gives Comoros $20 mln for road network

The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The African Development Bank is giving Comoros a $20.4 million grant to help it improve and expand its road networks, a move that will boost its agriculture and tourism sectors.

The islands have few natural resources and largely rely on exports such as cloves and vanilla, remittances from citizens working abroad and foreign aid to finance development projects.

AfDB said the money will be disbursed over five years.

“The project will focus on improving the quality of key roads infrastructure on the National Road-2 and Road-23 to boost trade and spur economic growth,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The poor quality of infrastructure, especially road infrastructure and related services has been identified as is one of the major constraints to economic diversification in the country.”

The International Monetary Fund said in December it forecast Comoros’ economy to grow by 3.3 percent this year, up from an estimated 2.2 percent in 2016.

The islands, with a population of just below 800,000 and a gross domestic product of $566 million, have been rocked by some 20 coups and attempted coups since independence from France in 1975.

The country has an 800-km long road network and says very little maintenance has been done on it over that last 20 years.

AfDB said the grant would go towards rehabilitating a 47 km stretch and will also involve putting up protection against sea erosion.

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alison Williams

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