Colombo, October 2 (IANS) The World Bank has approved a $ 500 million loan for Sri Lanka to provide safe and climate resilient roads to connect agricultural supply chains through the connectivity and development project inclusive.
In a statement, the World Bank said the project is expected to benefit around 16 million people living in rural communities in some districts of Sri Lanka, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
In Sri Lanka, roads carry around 95 percent of passengers and 98 percent of freight. While almost all national roads are paved, only 67 percent of provincial roads and 13 percent of rural roads are in good condition.
Sri Lanka also has the highest road fatality rate in South Asia with around 3,000 deaths per year, according to the World Bank statement.
An uninterrupted road network is crucial to connect rural communities to health and education services and other economic opportunities and to connect small farmers to national and international markets, the statement added.
“Improving access to basic services and economic opportunities in rural areas, and reducing regional disparities in economic development, is essential to promote inclusion and opportunities for all,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“The project will also create many short-term employment opportunities, which will help advance the post-pandemic recovery,” Faris added.
This project is part of the development program to improve 100,000 km of rural roads, a key initiative under the government’s national development strategy.
“The project will help develop green and climate resilient transport and agricultural logistics, and integrate climate resilience practices into infrastructure planning and investments for a more resilient future for Sri Lanka,” said Winnie Wang , head of the World Bank task force for the project.
The project will build on ongoing provincial and rural road rehabilitation initiatives under the World Bank-funded Transport Connectivity and Asset Management Project and Integrated Road Investment Programs funded by the Asian Bank of development – iRoad I and II.
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