Two new major roads in Vanuatu have now officially opened. The East Coast Santo Road, and the Efate Ring Road were constructed as part project led by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The project has realigned and upgraded 92km of road linking Port Vila with outlying coastal villages and 48km on the island of Santo. The total cost of the project was US$75 million of which New Zealand contributed $NZ14 million, through the New Zealand Aid Programme.
New Zealand is committed to safe well maintained infrastructure in Vanuatu that also helps deliver the New Zealand Aid Programme’s mandate of reducing poverty through supporting sustainable economic growth.
Currently Vanuatu’s development is constrained by poor roads which damage vehicles and stock and produce, stop tourists from visiting areas outside the major centres, and discourage investment in business opportunities such as resort development.
New Zealand Company Downer EDI Works were awarded the contract to design and construct the roads through an open international tender process.
The project was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget and is already having an impact. There are significantly increased traffic flows on both roads, indicating travel is now easier and less costly.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation was set up by the United States Congress to fund development projects in well-governed developing countries.