CRISS-CROSS THE NATION — Better transport key to development of rural areas – DRD

Villagers on their way back home in caravans from the annual pagoda festival in Bagan.
Villagers on their way back home in caravans from the annual pagoda festival in Bagan.

THE Department of Rural Development is planning to speed up efforts to develop rural areas with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank-ADB and the World Bank, it has been learned.
Short-term and long-term strategies are needed to improve the transport sector in rural areas, said the Director-General of the DRD at a meeting on rural road development projects in Myanmar financed by the Asian Development Bank yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw.
The ADB representative and heads of Region/State rural development departments held discussions on rural roads development projects with the director-general speaking at the event.
Roads in rural areas should be upgraded to become all-weather roads, he said, adding that the department has adopted national-level strategies for rural electrification and water supply infrastructure.
Rural development projects have been implemented in Shan State (South) with the use of an 18-million Euro fund provided by KFW German Bank, said the director-general of the department, adding that the ADB has committed to providing US$ 10million each for road and bridge repairs in Sagaing Region and the reconstruction of disaster-hit infrastructure in Chin State.
Myanmar has received $70million in grant money from the World Bank for rural infrastructure rehabilitation works in Magwe, Bago, Sagaing, Yangon and Ayeyawady Regions, said the director-general at the meeting.
Twenty million people, or about half of the rural population, live in villages without access to an all-season road in Myanmar, which trails its Southeast Asian neighbors in transport infrastructure. The report notes that $45 to $60 billion is required in transport investments by 2030, and that the investment should be coupled with streamlining institutions and strengthening cross-ministerial collaboration.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including co-financing of $10.7 billion.

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