Japanese fund to aid poor vendors in central Vietnam town

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Three projects financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) targeting small towns in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will receive a US$2.5 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to build new markets and provide loans to poor vendors, ADB said in a release Wednesday.


ADB will administer the non-refundable aid, which will add to the three Greater Mekong Subregion corridor towns development projects worth $220 million approved last year by ADB.


With the new aid, three small markets will be built in Cambodia's Battambang, Laos' Kaysone Phomvihane and Vietnam's Dong Ha (in Quang Tri Province).


The towns were chosen for their size, proximity to agricultural production, tourism, and cross-border trade, ADB said.


Studies will be undertaken to determine the most marketable products based on available supply, production and distribution chains.


Up to 600 poor vendors will be offered small loans by 2017, with at least 70 percent of them going to female vendors.


"This project places a particular emphasis on assisting women vendors," said Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Development Specialist of ADB's Southeast Asia Department.


"It will set aside space in the new market buildings specifically for women vendors; help them access existing local government daycares for their children; and build separate latrines to ensure they can safely spend the day in their workplace."


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