The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka on Thursday, May 28 signed the $107 million second tranche loan agreement of an $800 million multi-tranche financing facility to upgrade roads.
“Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socio-economic centers in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of economic growth,” said ADB’s Country Director in Sri Lanka Sri Widowati. Widowati signed the loan on behalf of ADB while Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, R.H.S. Samarathunga signed for the Government of Sri Lanka.
The $107 million second tranche of the Integrated Road Investment Program, or so called “iRoad” in Sri Lanka is largely earmarked for the first slice of projects in the Sabaragamuwa Province; Kalutara District of the Western Province; Central Province; North Central Province; and North Western Province, helping provide 9.3 million people with swifter and safer travel. The program will improve road connectivity to the rural hubs.
With most of the rural access roads currently in poor condition, improvements will result in time savings and a decrease in large vehicle operating costs. In addition, all-weather rural access roads will result in significant social benefits and poverty reduction, such as increased agriculture productivity since farmers will be able to get goods to market faster, better access to health services and education, and easier access to jobs.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including co-financing of $9.2 billion.