Uganda aims to borrow $145 mln for oil region infrastructure
KAMPALA May 8 (Reuters) - Uganda on Thursday said it wanted to borrow $145 million from the World Bank to revamp infrastructure in the Albertine region where it discovered commercial oil reserves.
East Africa's third-largest economy is eyeing a petrodollar fuelled boom when it starts pumping crude - expected around 2017 -from a region which straddles the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"Cabinet approved a proposal by the Ministry of Finance...to borrow funds for improving infrastructure and social services in Uganda's Albertine region," said a statement issued by information minister, Rose Namayanja.
It added the money would be borrowed from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA).
Government geologists estimate Uganda's crude reserves at 3.5 billion barrels and China's CNOOC, one of the three explorers, has already been given a production license.
The statement did not specify which infrastructure the loan would finance.
Officials have in past said there was a need to improve the road network in the region. Uganda aims to export oil via pipeline through Kenya, but could use trucks at first for relatively small quantities as the pipeline plans are still in the early stages.
The statement said oil industry-related activities had triggered a population surge into towns and cities in the Albertine region, exerting pressure on existing infrastructure and social services. (Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Edmund Blair and William Hardy)