(CMC) — The World Bank has approved a US$33 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) as additional financing for the Haiti Rural Accessibility and Resilience Project.
The Washington-based financial institution said that this additional funding aims to improve all-weather road access in the Center Artibonite Loop Region and strengthen the resilience of key segments in the road network.
“Improving rural accessibility provides windows of opportunity to improve people’s lives as well as the economy,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti.
“This project will reduce vulnerability of rural communities by connecting them to basic services, markets and job opportunities. Increased connectivity will be critical to Haiti’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in some of the areas most impacted by the economic slowdown,” she added.
The World Bank said the road network is “critical to Haiti’s economy, as up to 80 per cent of transportation and movement of people and goods takes place by road.”
It said around 50 per cent of the national territory remains “poorly connected,” adding that, “at times, entire regions remain totally isolated for days following major storms and hurricanes”.
The Rural Access Index Survey (2015) carried out by the government of Haiti, identified lack of road access among rural households as a significant impediment to improvement of their livelihoods, and consequently, to poverty reduction, the World Bank said.
It said that, by improving access to markets and services for households in Haiti’s rural provinces, “the additional financing will increase resilience to shocks, support longer-term regional development and integration, and promote more inclusive growth.”
The World Bank said key activities include construction of four bridges, and spot improvements, maintenance and repair of key road sections to make an additional 80 kilometers navigable in all weather, including extreme climate events.
The additional grant also supports construction or rehabilitation of two road maintenance centres (Hinche and Saint-Michel), and key regional and community markets, the bank said.
Initially approved in May 2018 for US$75 million, the World Bank said the Haiti Rural Accessibility and Resilience Project was designed to rehabilitate critical segments of the rural road network and improve road conditions and road safety in the South, South East and Nippes departments.