The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a US$404 million loan to improve road connections between Bangladesh’s cities and its neightbouring nations.
The upgrade of the country’s N2 national highway between Sylhet and the Tamabil border crossing will improve overall commuter safety and reduce travel times for both passengers and freight.
The 56.16 kilometre Sylhet-Tamabil road is part of the Dhaka-Narsingdi-Sylhet-Tamabil national highway corridor, which has a total length of 286 kilometers. The corridor is strategically important for subregional connectivity with seven northeastern states of India, as well as Bhutan, Myanmar and China.
Project funds will go toward the construction, operation and maintenance of roads, and institutional and project management support.
“As the first stand-alone transport project supported by AIIB in Bangladesh, the project will allow the bank to gain experience in cross-border connectivity in South Asia,” said DJ Pandian AIIB‘s vice-president, investment operations. “At the same time, the project will allow the country to improve sustainability and potentially attract private sector participation and community involvement in road maintenance.”
In 2018, Bangladesh received a US$813,000 non-reimbursable grant from AIIB’s project preparation special fund to assist with the project’s preparation. Established in 2016, the fund is a multi-donor facility with the primary purpose of supporting eligible AIIB member countries, especially low-income ones, in the prepartion of bankable infrastructure projects.
The latest investment brings AIIB’s total commitment in Bangladesh to US$898 million.