January 19, 2021, 3:05 pm


2020-06-30 19:49:39 BdST

ADB provides $100m rural road extension in BD

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh on Tuesday signed an agreement for $100 million in concessional loan to expand the coverage of an ongoing rural road network improvement project in Bangladesh, connecting the rural population to agricultural lands, markets and services.

Fatima Yasmin, secretary, Economic Relations Division, and Manmohan Parkash, country director, ADB, have remotely signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively, reads a press release.

"The project will contribute to the government's efforts for faster socio-economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. The expanded project will benefit around 90 million inhabitants in 34 districts with access to better health services, education, employment opportunities, markets and other government services," said Manmohan Parkash.

"In addition to generating 1.73 million person-days of employment through infrastructure spending, the additional financing will also widen the opportunities for women and children to have easier and safer access to education, emergency health services, and other essential social services in any weather condition," he added.

This additional financing will scale up the current road network development, under the Rural Connectivity Improvement Project, from 1,700 km to 2,630 km of rural roads. It will build on the $200 million financial packages approved in 2018 aimed at upgrading rural roads in 34 districts to all-weather standards with climate resilience and safety features. The expanded project will benefit around 92 million people.

The Rural Connectivity Improvement Project supports the government's Seventh Five Year Plan to increase the percentage of the country's rural roads classified as good from 43 percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2020. The overall project will continue to strengthen governance and institutional capacity in rehabilitating and maintaining rural roads with the use of a geographic information system to optimise monitoring of road conditions, thus sustaining an efficient rural road network that would boost further growth of the rural economy.

Inadequate rural transport and poor market infrastructure are critical challenges to Bangladesh's rural development. The situation is further worsened by recurrent flooding and disasters that paralyse agricultural value chains. Less than half of the rural population has access to all-weather roads, which make up less than a third of the total length of rural roads in the country.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members, 49 from the region.

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