DHAKA (Reuters) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it signed agreements on Sunday with the government of Bangladesh for $200 million in loans to improve the rural road network in the country.

Poor infrastructure is often cited as one of the major hindrances to growth in the South Asian country of 165 million people.

“The assistance supports the government’s priority of delivering urban services in rural areas by increasing connectivity, providing greater access to social services and markets, and promoting the agriculture sector, benefiting over 51.5 million people,” said the ADB’s Bangladesh country director Manmohan Parkash.

“It will also improve transport efficiency, generate 3.13 million person-days of employment, introduce high-level technology to enhance road master planning, and create road safety awareness among rural population.”

The assistance will support the government’s Rural Connectivity Improvement Project (RCIP) to upgrade about 1,700 km (1,056 miles) of rural roads to all-weather standards in 34 districts located in five divisions.

The project also prioritizes the repair of roads damaged by flash floods in 2017.

Only about 40 percent of the rural population in Bangladesh has access to all-weather roads, and these roads make up only 28 percent of the total length of rural roads in the country.

The total cost of the project, which is due for completion in November 2023, is $285.31 million. ADB will provide a concessional loan of $100 million and a regular loan of $100 million and the rest would be provided by the Bangladesh government.

Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Christian Schmollinger


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