The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided a €259m loan to upgrade transport infrastructure in Belarus.

Of the total loan amount, €126m will be used to upgrade 12 bridges and €133m is allocated for the M3 motorway modernisation programme.

The bridge refurbishments will complement a road rehabilitation programme undertaken by the Belarus Government.

Belarus’ M3 motorway connects the capital city Minsk with Vitebsk, which is located in the north-east region of the country. The loan will fund upgrades to 47km of the motorway.

The country’s road network spans around 87,000km, including the international transit corridors II and IX. These corridors connect the country with Russia, Central Asia and China, and also link the Baltic states to the Black Sea.

The road enhancement work is expected to increase transit capacity and connections, improving Belarus’ economic conditions and trade prospects.

EBRD has backed 119 Belarus road projects since launching operations in the country in 1992, with a total investment of nearly €2.7bn.

Last month, the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a €450m loan to support the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian road network.

EIB and the European Union (EU) recently also signed loan agreements to refurbish roads in Malawi.

Last year, EBRD invested more than €700m over the period 2018-2020 to improve road infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition, a new 7.7km-long EU-funded bypass road around Ungheni in Moldova opened to the public in 2018.

EBRD stated that the road will improve connectivity to the EU border and divert heavy traffic from the city of Ungheni.