The Lao Ministry of Finance and the World Bank have signed a US$25 million agreement to further strengthen road maintenance systems and improve road connectivity throughout the country. Lao PDR is one of the ASEAN countries most vulnerable to floods, droughts and storms with local transport infrastructure particularly exposed due to the climate-related increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.
“Our partnership with the World Bank on road maintenance has resulted in better and safer roads. With this new agreement, people in rural areas will benefit from more reliable roads throughout the year,” said Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, Minister of Public Works and Transport.
The new Lao PDR Road Sector II Project is part of the country’s national
programme to build climate-resilient roads and infrastructure. The project will support road maintenance work in six provinces that are highly vulnerable to flash floods, landslides, and other natural disasters - Phongsaly, Houaphan, Oudomxay, Xiengkhouang, Xayabouly and Bolikhamxay. This will provide year-round access to basic services, schools, and markets for around 1.6 million people, the World Bank said.
Said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia, “Better roads will help prevent disaster-related road closures, ensuring better connectivity and access to income opportunities and basic social services.”
The new financing comes from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for developing nations. The programme is also supported by funds from the Government of Lao PDR and the Nordic Development Fund. The World Bank has been supporting roads in Lao PDR since the 1990s.
Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about what the World Bank is doing for roads in Lebanon