RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development on Wednesday signed an agreement for an additional development loan of $49 million to finance an infrastructure project in Albania, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The money will be used to fund the second phase of construction of the 43km Tirana–Elbasan–Qukes–Qafe Plloce road. The deal was signed by the fund’s CEO, Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, and the Albanian minister of finance and economy, Delina Ibrahimaj. The deputy ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Albania, Abdullah Al Shahri, was also in attendance, along with a number of Albanian officials.
“This particular project aims to continue the earlier phase of the road-construction project, which SFD financed with $25 million, with the aim of constructing a road connecting the Albanian capital and isolated villages with neighboring countries near the south of Albania,” according to the SPA report.
In addition to providing transport connections, the project will help to improve road safety and quality and to facilitate trade and economic ties with other countries, officials said. It is expected to directly benefit more than 600,000 people, ease pressure on the transport sector, and reduce road traffic accidents and mortality rates.
“This project will positively impact the social and economic development of Albania,” Al-Marshad said during the signing ceremony. “Additionally, it will help support the infrastructure and provide opportunities for Albanian people to meet their daily needs.”
He praised the efforts being made by Saudi Arabia and Albania to achieve the aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and said he hopes the road project will serve as a development pillar that helps other sectors in Albania achieve growth and prosperity.
Ibrahimaj praised the significant role played by the Kingdom in supporting development projects and helping to improve infrastructure in her country. She said that such projects are of great importance and benefit to the lives of many, as they are helping to improve social and economic conditions for Albanians.
The SFD has in recent years provided four development loans worth more than $114.5 million for three projects in Albania that officials say have contributed to the growth and prosperity of infrastructure sectors and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.