By Axel Reiserer
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city Sarajevo and the surrounding Sarajevo Canton will benefit from a loan of up to €30 million(US$33.60milion) provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the modernisation and upgrade of its strategic road network.
The EBRD financing will fund improvements of urban transport in Sarajevo, enabling better connections with other parts of the Canton. Investments will include the construction of a new twin pipe tunnel near the city centre (on the 1st Transversal road) and a dual carriage road at the end of the Sarajevo bypass (on the 9th Transversal road).
The upgrade of the road network will also improve local and regional transport connections and cut air pollution by reducing congestion due to shorter travel times. With some 450,000 inhabitants, Sarajevo Canton accounts for almost 13 per cent of the country’s total population.
The signing of the loan agreement took place before the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina hard. As the country lifts healthcare restrictions and adopts measures to support the economy, the need for modern infrastructure becomes ever more apparent.
EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Manuela Naessl said: “We are very pleased to sign this loan agreement today, which has been some time in the making, but will have a long-lasting impact on the city and the Canton. Sarajevo suffers from traffic congestion and significant air pollution, particularly during the winter time. While we are also heavily investing with the Canton in improving public transport, better, faster and safer road transport connections mean less congestion and better trade and economic opportunities.”
Since it began operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, the EBRD has invested €2.6 billion in 177 projects there. Investing in transport infrastructure to allow the local economy to expand and supporting regional integration are two of the Bank’s priorities in the country.
During 2020 and 2021 the EBRD expects to dedicate its entire investment volume of up to €21 billion across all the economies where it invests to overcome the impact of the crisis.