World Bank funds $500m for road and digital connectivity in Bangladesh
The government of Bangladesh has signed a US$500 million agreement with the World Bank for finance to help rehabilitate the Jashore to Jhenaidah highway and improve connecting rural roads.
The finance agreement was signed by Fatima Yasmin and Mercy Tembon on behalf of the Government and the World Bank.
The Western Economic Corridor and Regional Enhancement (WeCARE) Program Phase I project will see the upgrade of 48 kilometres of the two-lane Jashore to Jhenaidah road into a 4-lane highway.
600 kilometres of connecting rural roads will also be rehabilitated to create new or to develop the existing rural markets.
Fibre-optic cables will also be run along the road projects to ensure a fast and more reliable Internet service.
Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said: “With better connectivity and logistics, farmers will be able to reach new and existing markets in less time and cost, and will also minimize loss from spoilage of perishable goods. The economic corridor will create new opportunities for people and stimulate the local economy. Moreover, this will help Bangladesh become a regional hub for trade, transit, and logistics.”
The project will pilot a “safe system approach” to reduce accidents and road crashes, with separate lanes for slower vehicles, crash barriers, better signs, and safer pedestrian crossings.
This project is the first of a ten year, multi-phase, $1.4 billion program, which will see the upgrade of the existing 110 kilometre two-lane highway of Bhomra to Satkhira to Navaron and Jashore to Jhenaidah.
The current project will start with the four districts of Jashore, Jhenaidah, Magura, and Chuadanga and the first two years of the project will see the creation of 1.3 million casual workers.
Bangladesh was given a 34-year term for the credit agreement, which includes a four-year grace period.
The World Bank was one of the first development aid partners to offer support for Bangladesh following their independence and has committed over $33.5 billion in grants and concessional credits to the nation.