Rural road connectivity in Sri Lanka supported by ADB
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka today signed a $200 million loan agreement for the Second Integrated Road Investment Program Tranche 3 to continue ADB’s assistance to upgrade Sri Lanka’s rural road network connecting vast rural populations to jobs and services.
“Economic growth is hindered by poor transport infrastructure, particularly some poorly maintained provincial and local roads,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen. “Access to markets and business opportunities, especially along agricultural value chains, can be significantly improved with better transport infrastructure and can serve as the key to poverty reduction and shared prosperity in rural areas.”
Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle signed the loan agreement for the Government of Sri Lanka and Mr. Chen signed on behalf of ADB. A project agreement was also signed between ADB and the implementing agency, Road Development Authority, represented by Chairman C. P. Athuluwage.
Despite the present challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the project is being implemented while adhering to health guidelines and the well-being of its workers. It is expected to support the post-pandemic economic recovery in rural areas through job opportunities and by obtaining services from rural populations, such as the hiring of vehicles, buildings, equipment, etc.
“Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socioeconomic centres in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of inclusive economic growth,” said Mr. Attygalle. “This is very much in keeping with the government’s development policy and will contribute to the government’s development plan.”
This loan is the third of five tranches under the Second Integrated Road Investment Program, which was approved by ADB’s Board of Directors in 2017. The program will deliver a total financing of $900 million to rehabilitate and improve about 3,400 kilometres (km) of rural access roads and 340 km of national roads in the Eastern, Northern, Uva, and Western provinces. It will improve the capacity of the country’s road agencies on road safety, maintenance, research, road design, and construction. The program is due for completion in 2027.
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.