Lao PDR’s 309,400 Residents to See National and Provincial Roads Improvement
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved US$21 million in additional grant financing for the Lao Road Sector Project, building on the excellent progress of the original grant of US$27.8 million, which was approved in 2010.
The newly approved financing augments the WB’s support for the program which aimed at improving road services on two main national corridors and the provincial road network. The Lao Road Sector Project also works on rehabilitation of the roads damaged by Typhoon Ketsana and the establishment of a contingency fund for quick disaster response in the road sector in Lao PDR.
“The additional financing grant is timely. It will support the scaling up of programs to advance road services in Laos and focus on increasingly important work on rehabilitation of roads damaged by natural disasters,” said Sombath Southivong, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
The original Lao Road Sector project has already contributed to significant achievements in the upgrade of the national roads, periodic maintenance of the provincial road network, and road safety improvements in Lao PDR. Currently, 1,011 km of the provincial road network has received maintenance, exceeding the target of 800 km. The target of repairing and improving 60% of roads damaged by Typhoon Ketsana has been met with 55% of roads repaired; 286.4 km national roads and 728.5 km provincial roads have been completed. The Government of Lao PDR and other sources financed the remaining 45% of works.
With this additional grant, the Bank seeks to finance a scale up of efforts to enhance the disaster resilience of two national roads and priority sections of the provincial network and further strengthen the institutional capacities of the Ministry for Public Works and Transport of Lao PDR.
In particular, additional financing would top up the emergency contingency fund, depleted following Typhoons Haima and Nok Ten, and would replenish the components from where resources were reallocated to meet emergency road repairs after these Typhoons.
In addition, it will boost the institutional aspects of the project, strengthening management capacities at central and provincial levels, fiduciary, environmental and social safeguard management, traffic safety, sector governance and the management of innovative financing instruments.
The Lao Road Sector Project is an important part of the Lao PDR Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), endorsed by the World Bank Board in March 2012, which aims to improve connectivity of the country by a robust program of road improvement and eventual expansion with new investments in provincial infrastructure.