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The World Bank Group board of executive directors has approved a loan of USD 370 million for part of the construction of the 203km Mojo-Hawassa expressway and road safety scheme.
The finance that was approved on Monday May 19 will be used for the 57km Batu (Zeway) – Arsi Negele section of the Modjo- Hawassa expressway.
The project that will be supervised by the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) will be finalized in the coming five years GTP II program, which will commence after six weeks.
The financers want different contractors to undertake the project. The Modjo- Hawassa superhighway project will also set a framework for expressways development initiating preparation of a strategic master plan and the provision of institutional capacity building. In addition, it will provide road safety mechanisms and institutional development support to the Ministry of Transport.
According to the bank’s statement, the project is consistent with the Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the 2013-16 fiscal year.  The CPS aims to foster competitiveness and employment by supporting a stable macroeconomic environment, increasing productivity, increasing and improving delivery of infrastructure, and enhancing regional integration. The project will also help in facilitating domestic trade. 
“The project contributes to the overarching goal of transforming Ethiopia’s economy by improving the quality of roads serving areas with high potential for tourism, light manufacturing, agro-processing and producing key export-oriented agricultural products,”  said Tesfamichael Nahusenay, the World Bank’s Senior Transport Engineer, who was also head of ERA about 12 years ago.
Africa Development Bank (AfDB), one of the major development partners of the country, and Korea’s EXIM Bank approved the finance for the 93km first phase of the project that will connect Mojo-Meki-Batu. The 57km Mojo-Meki road project will be financed by AfDB, while the remaining 37km Meki-Batu project will be financed by Korea’s EXIM Bank loan. The Korean construction company, Keangnam Enterprises Limited, will construct the 37km road. 
AfDB has approved USD 126 million loan for the first phase of the project stretching from Mojo to Meki,   which is still on bid. The government will contribute USD 99.10 million to fund costs, local taxes, resettlement compensations and other expenses. Aside from the loan, AfDB also provided USD 2.44 million to build ERA’s capacity.
The World Bank support will be instrumental in the realization of the second phase of the project that runs from Zeway to Arsi Negele and Awassa. The Chinese EXIM Bank, which financed the Addis-Adama expressway, will finance the 52km Arsi Negele-Hawassa project.
Samson Wondemu, Public Relation Head of ERA, told Capital that the bid document for Zeway-Arsi Negele is being prepared. He said that the project that continues from Zeway to Hawassa will commence in the coming year. A Chinese contractor is expected to be assigned on this project.
The Mojo-Hawassa superhighway forms a fragment of the cross country Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa highway project. The Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road facility is expected to boost local agri-business and regional trade among nations it passes through.
The existing Mojo-Hawassa road, which is dilapidated, forms the road link in the route from Cape Town to Cairo.
The government is in the process of implementing the Adama-Awash toll road, which is a continuation of Addis-Adama toll road on the Addis-Djibouti corridor.
The Addis-Adama toll road commenced operation in September 2014. The Adama-Awash project will be commenced in the coming budget year.
The Ministry of Transport is also exploring for possibilities to include the Addis-Adama toll way and the Lebu – Akaki – IT Park (Goro) outer ring roads in the toll roads system. The Akaki – IT Park road project, that will connect the expressway with the South and North-eastern parts of the city, will cover 14.5kms, while the 13.6km Akaki – Lebu project will connect the Addis – Adama toll road with the Western and South-western parts of Addis.
The Addis Ababa – Adama road corridor was constructed with 11.2 billion birr loan secured from China’s EXIM Bank. Currently, over 9,000 vehicles use the road every day on average making a daily average earning of 350,000 birr.