€71 million loan for connection between Kijeve and Zahaq
Supporting the integration of Kosovo, Europe’s youngest state, into regional and international networks, the EBRD is providing a €71 million loan for the construction of a new, 30 km highway section. It will connect Kijeve, a village near the capital Pristina, and Zahaq, a village near the major city of Peje.
The highway is part of Route 6b of the Western Balkans Comprehensive Network and will support Kosovo’s economic development and regional integration. The EBRD funding will be complemented by a €80 million loan provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and €3.2 million in grant funding from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) for project preparation.
The investment will also support the commercialisation of the road sector through the introduction of first steps, such as appropriate funding levels for road development and maintenance. Special attention will also be paid – through the introduction of road safety audits and inspection – to improvements in road safety, a continuing concern in many countries of the region due to the ageing road network, which is in growing need of refurbishment and modernisation.
Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Transport, said: “We are pleased to finance this important project together with our partners the EIB and WBIF. It will demonstrate how joint efforts can lead to tangible improvements in people’s lives. Better connectivity will benefit the many small businesses of Kosovo which to date have been affected by unsatisfactory transport connections. The project will also support improvement of road sector financing as well as road sector reform by developing by-laws and regulations on road safety.”
Bedri Hamza, Minister of Finance of Kosovo, added: “This project is a high priority for our government as it will improve connectivity within Kosovo’s regions and its neighbouring countries. The project demonstrates the government’s commitment to the development of the country’s road infrastructure, which is a key factor for economic growth and regional integration.”
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €220 million in Kosovo through more than 50 projects. The Bank’s strategic priorities in the country are promoting inclusion, the green economy, economic resilience and regional integration. The majority of the EBRD’s investments are in the private sector.