£200m for rural roads in Sri Lanka

Rural Sri Lanka

Latest instalment from £900m ADB programme ensures projects continue despite pandemic.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka have signed a $200m loan agreement for additional investment in rural road networks.

Sri Lanka has a large rural population and weak transport links that are seen as a major hurdle to their economic prosperity. So despite the recent challenges of the pandemic, road projects are continuing while adhering to new health guidelines so as to support the post-pandemic economic recovery in rural areas.

ADB country director for Sri Lanka, Chen Chen said: “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.”

This loan is the third of five tranches under the second integrated road investment programme, which was approved by ADB in 2017. The programme will deliver a total financing of $900m to rehabilitate and improve 3,400km of rural access roads and 340km of national roads. It will also be used to improve the capacity of the country’s road agencies on road safety, maintenance, research, road design, and construction.

Secretary to the treasury S. R. Attygalle signed the loan agreement and said: “Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socioeconomic centers in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of inclusive economic growth. This is very much in keeping with the government’s development policy and will contribute to the government’s development plan.”