The European Investment Bank (EIB) has loaned the state-owned South African Roads Agency €120-million to help fund the upgrade of roads in the country, the EIB said on Thursday.

The national roads agency, Sanral, plans to spend R24-billion over the next five years to improve road networks, particularly around industrial hub Johannesburg.

The EIB said the loan was for the upgrade and extension of two key toll roads.

“The projects are of strategic importance to South Africa’s transport infrastructure, and are part of an ongoing programme by the national authorities to upgrade and extend the road network,” it said in a statement.

The EIB, the long-term lending arm of the European Union, signed an agreement with South Africa’s government in 2007 to lend the country up to €900-million between 2008 and 2013.