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World Bank to provide $450m loan to improve road network in Nepal

The World Bank has agreed to provide $450m for the development of roads in Nepal and also to set course for post-Covid-19 economic recovery through cross-border trade and better road safety.

The World Bank has agreed to provide $450m for the development of roads in Nepal and also to set course for post-Covid-19 economic recovery through cross-border trade and better road safety.

The $450m is being forwarded by the World Bank under the Nepal Strategic Road Connectivity and Trade Improvement Project which will enhance regional road connectivity by upgrading the Nagdhunga-Naubise-Mugling road and the Kamala-Dhalkebar-Pathlaiya road.

The two roads are crucial for Nepal in terms of connectivity and trade with India and other neighbouring countries.

The project is expected to enhance infrastructure, facilities and sanitation at border crossing points to ease trade constraints and to spur agricultural exports.

It could also support for better screening of goods and people at the border facilities and in developing guidance for special working arrangements including safe distancing and remote working, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

World Bank Nepal Country Manager Faris Hadad-Zervos said: “In the context of Covid-19, protecting people’s lives is the priority, and giving a fillip to economic recovery is equally urgent.

“Our support will pave the way for Nepal’s Covid-19 recovery by making roads safer and more efficient while helping move people and goods, creating jobs, and generating demand for local products and services.”

The project is expected to strengthen the National Road Safety Council and the Department of Roads and support in the periodic maintenance of high-traffic roads within the Strategic Road Network.

It also aligns with the past and the present efforts of Nepal and its regional partners to achieve their full potential in trade across the eastern sub-region of South Asia.

It is part of the World Bank’s Eastern Corridor Connectivity Programme, which was being financed since 2013, in a continually evolving regional programme to improve connectivity and trade with countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.

World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and the Project Task Team Leader Sri Kumar Tadimalla said: “The project will reduce the time and cost of moving goods and boost Nepal’s trade, which accounts for about 40 per cent of the country’s economic output.

“Equally importantly, the project includes best practices in safety, climate resilience, road asset management, gender equality, social inclusion and citizen engagement, which the federal, provincial and local governments can take on.”

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