WB puts $97 mil more towards Vietnam rural road upgrade

TN News

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Vietnam's central bank received an extra US$97 million support from the World Bank on Friday to improve rural transport infrastructure, reduce travel costs and improve access to markets.

Started 17 years ago, the rural transport project has been provided with a total of $145.3 million from the World Bank and the UK government. It has restored around 2,100 kilometers of road, and completed maintenance on around 13,000 kilometers of roads and bridges.

The additional financing comes from the International Development Association, the World Bank's funding resource for low income countries.

Up to 5 million people are expected to benefit from the project, which has been carried out in 32 provinces in north and central Vietnam, including 14 mountainous provinces, the Bank said in a press release.

The release said road maintenance in Vietnam has been neglected due to fund shortages while budgets are still focused on new construction.

Vietnam's road network has expanded from 225,000 km in 1999 to 256,000 km in 2009, and now includes 196,404 km of rural roads that serve around 75 percent of Vietnam's population and 90 percent of the country's poor who live in rural areas.

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