Myanmar secures $80 million ADB road loan for generating new business opportunities in Ayeyawady delta

Delta

Myanmar has secured a road investment program from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the upgrade of a road acting as a key transport facility link in and out of the Ayeyawady Region, the country’s main rice growing region.
The ADB announced the road loan on Thursday with a press release saying that it will provide a loan of $80 million to Myanmar to upgrade a 54 km section of the road between Pyapon and Maubin in the region and bridges along the route, as well as fund new testing facilities for the Ministry of Construction and its Public Works.
“Upgrading the Maubin-Pyapon road which traverses the southeast of the delta will dramatically improve connectivity, cut travel times, reduce transport costs, and support economic development and livelihood opportunities for many poor communities,” said Jamie Leather, principal transport specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department in the release.
The specialist added the project is aimed at helping Myanmar establish new business opportunities in rural areas which are expected to emerge as a result of the country’s ongoing economic liberalization program.  The bank described the Ayeyawady delta as the key rice producer in the country and said the delta has potential for large scale agribusinesses and seafood industries, but the condition of its road network is poor due to years of neglect and the impact of cyclone Nargis, which made landfall in the region in 2008.
The financial institution continued that the poor road network deters enterprises such as cash crops and high-value seafood products which require decent roads to get goods to market on time and in good condition.
According to the ADB press release, climate-resilient features have been incorporated in the project design, including an increase in the height of parts of the road to improve clearance during seasonal floods and to cope with any climate-related storm surges.
Surfaced shoulders to be built on both sides of the route will allow safe travel for non-motorized traffic and pedestrians and connections to the local waterway network will improve access to the more remote areas of the delta, the release added.
It said reducing travel time along the district-to-district route, which links Pyapon, located about 75 miles south of Yangon, and Maubin, some 40 miles east of Yangon, tripling traffic volumes and supporting new agribusinesses and agricultural processing facilities by 2022 are included in the project’s targets.
The project, which is part of ADB’s broader engagement with Myanmar in the roads sector and is a pilot initiative to demonstrate best practices for future road network improvements, is expected to be completed by September 2018, said the bank.

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