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World Bank to provide $525m to improve rural road connectivity

  • Published at 12:03 am December 7th, 2018
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The $425 million “Operation for Supporting Rural Bridges Program” will improve connectivity and climate resilience in 19 coastal districts, affecting about a 100 million people

Bangladesh and the World Bank Thursday signed two financing agreements worth $525 million to improve connectivity and climate resilience through building, maintaining, and improving roads and rural bridges.

The $425 million “Operation for Supporting Rural Bridges Program” will improve connectivity and climate resilience in 19 coastal districts, affecting about a 100 million people, said a press release.

Mahmuda Begum, additional secretary of Economic Relations Division, and Qimiao Fan, country director of World Bank for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, signed the agreements on behalf of their respective organizations.

Speaking about the agreement, Fan said: “Rural bridges play a key role in Bangladesh’s development, and an efficient rural road network can have a big effect in improving rural livelihoods.

“By enabling greater connectivity, these two projects will help rural communities gain safer access to schools, health facilities and markets, reduce transport costs, increase non-agriculture incomes, and expand employment for both women and men,” Fan added.

Representing the government, Mahmuda said: “The seventh Five-Year Plan includes a vision for development of rural infrastructure as one of its priority areas. Both projects will contribute to greater connectivity for rural communities, and boost growth.”

This agreement will support existing efforts by the government to plan, design, and manage rural bridges through the rehabilitation of at least 29,000 metres of bridges, and build another 20,000 metres of new bridges in 61 districts across Bangladesh.

Furthermore, the program will create jobs by generating about 5.5 million person-days of employment.

Meanwhile, the $100 million additional financing to the “Second Rural Transport Improvement Project”, was also signed on Thursday, will help support the rehabilitation of 1,433 km of upazila and union roads that were damaged from the floods and heavy rainfall of 2017, and the maintenance of almost 6,000 km of rural roads in 26 districts.

The project will also promote community road safety campaigns and road safety measures for public and private transport users, in light of increasingly heavy traffic on rural roads.