Transport infrastructure can have profound impact by connecting people, jobs, and services. Globally, nearly one billion people live in rural areas without access to all weather roads. The World Bank, the largest provider of development financing for transport, commits $5.3bn to rural roads in South Asia alone. Connectivity is also a priority area for the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with 15% of its finance has gone to 23 projects of the transport sector by 2021. But, at the end of the day, how do our client countries perform in terms of connectivity? To what extent, our investments have generated impact in these countries toward improved connectivity and broader sustainable development goals?
To support countries’ investment decisions, the Economics department of AIIB has started to develop the capacity to conduct spatial economic analysis to shed lights on questions such as these for transport projects and for investment in other sectors. As an application, they conducted an analysis on India’s road transport performance applying a standardized spatially granular indicator and assessed the economic impact of a Rural Road Project led by the Gujarat state government, to which AIIB contributed during its first phase.