World Bank loans Vietnam $507 mln for agriculture, poverty reduction, transport

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A worker loads paddy onto a boat for a customer at Co Do Agriculture Company in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 10, 2014. Photo: AFP A worker loads paddy onto a boat for a customer at Co Do Agriculture Company in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 10, 2014. Photo: AFP

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Vietnam's central bank and the World Bank on Thursday signed four credit agreements totaling US$507 million to support Vietnam’s priorities in sustainable agriculture, poverty reduction, and a bus rapid transit system.
The signing, which took place in Washington DC, on the occasion of the first official visit of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the US, "signals the close partnership between Vietnam and the WB," Victoria Kwakwa, the WB's country director in Vietnam, said.
The financing covers four projects: the Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project (US$238 million), additional financing for the ongoing Livestock Competitiveness and Food Safety Project (US$ 45 million), additional financing for the Second Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project (US$100 million), and the Ho Chi Minh City Green Transport Development Project (US$124 million).
The Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project will directly benefit up to 140,000 families in the Mekong Delta by helping them to improve farming practices, invest in processing infrastructure, and link with agri-businesses.
It will also support some 62,000 coffee-producing families in the Central Highlands.
The additional financing for the Second Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project will continue and deepen poverty reduction activities in the six provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Yen Bai and include additional districts and communes.
“The project areas have some of the highest rates of poverty in Vietnam, and many beneficiaries are from impoverished ethnic minority communities," said Lan Thi Thu Nguyen, World Bank Senior Environmental Economist and the Team leader for this project.
The Ho Chi Minh City Green Transport Development Project will finance the development of a 23-kilometer-long Bus Rapid Transit corridor, which will transport up to 28,300 passengers a day.
The project will also help city authorities prepare for a proposed six-line network and lay the foundation for an integrated public transport system in the future.

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