The government and the World Bank on Thursday signed a total of US $525 million loan agreement with a view to improving connectivity and climate resilience through building, maintaining and improving roads and rural bridges.
The US$ 425 million "Operation for Rural Bridges Program" will be implemented to improve connectivity and climate resilience in 19 coastal districts supporting efforts existing by the government through rehabilitation of 29000 meters of bridges adding 20000 meters of new bridges in 61 districts across Bangladesh.
Additionally the government also signed US$ 100 million financing pact with the International Development Association (IDA) to implement "Second Rural Transportation Improvement Project" (RTIP-II) to support the rehabilitation of 1433 km of Upazila and Union roads damaged by natural disasters in 2017 as well as maintenance of some 6000 km of rural roads in 26 districts.
Mahmuda Begum, Additional Secretary of Economic Relations Divisions (ERD) and Quimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal signed the agreements on behalf of the government and the World Bank respectively at Economic Relations Division in the city.
"Bangladesh has an extensive rural connection" said Qimiao Fan mentioning that rural bridges play a key role in Bangladesh's development hence an efficient rural road network can have a big effect in improving rural livelihoods.
He lauded the government's efforts of backing climate resilient structures and putting resources to the cause.
"By enabling greater connectivity, these two projects will help rural communities to gain safer access for schools, health facilities and markets," he added.
Mahmuda Begum said both the projects will contribute to greater connectivity for rural communities and boosting growth.
The credit form the World Bank's IDA with zero-interest loan has a 30-year term including a five-year grace period with a service charge of 0.75 percent.
The "Operations for Supporting Rural Bridges" will be implemented by December 31, 2023 and RTIP-II project by June 30, 2021 while Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) being in charge.
Senior government officials and World Bank were also present at the signing ceremony.