The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a US$404 million loan to improve Bangladesh’s intercity travel and cross-border connectivity.
The upgrade of the country’s national highway between Sylhet and the Tamabil border crossing will improve the overall commuter safety and reduce travel times for road users, including freight vehicles and buses, said an AIIB press release on Monday.The Sylhet-Tamabil road (about 56.16 kilometers) is part of the Dhaka-Narsingdi-Sylhet-Tamabil National Highway corridor with a total length of 286 kilometers. The corridor is strategically important for sub-regional connectivity with seven northeastern states of India, as well as Bhutan, Myanmar and China.
Project funds will go toward the construction, operation and maintenance of roads, in addition to institutional and project management support.
AIIB Vice President, Investment Operations DJ Pandian said as the first stand-alone transport project supported by AIIB in Bangladesh, the project will allow the Bank to gain experience in cross-border connectivity in South Asia.
“At the same time, the project will allow the country to improve sustainability and potentially attract private sector participation and community involvement in road maintenance,” he added.
In 2018, Bangladesh received an $813,000 non-reimbursable grant from AIIB’s Special Fund to assist with the project’s preparation.
Established in 2016, the Fund is a multi donor facility with the primary purpose of supporting eligible AIIB members, especially low-income members.