Washington, DC, May 3, 2011 – Today the World Bank Board approved a US$43 million credit for the Papua New Guinea Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project II (RMRP II). Building on the success of an earlier project, which is set to close in December 2011, this new five-year initiative will continue to support the rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance of high priority national roads and bridges in the country, and help connect people to vital public services such as healthcare and education.
The project is expected to make a significant contribution to the Government of Papua New Guinea’s national road maintenance and rehabilitation program. Lack of reliable roads in the country has affected connectivity, disrupted people’s access to essential public services in many parts of the country and hindered economic growth, as transporting goods and people becomes impossible, unsafe, or exceedingly costly.
The RMRP II will rehabilitate roads and bridges in several provinces, beginning with upgrading segments of the Hiritano Highway to pavement. This will complete the full paving of the highway across both Central and Gulf provinces.
Thousands of people are expected to benefit from the RMRP II, including local communities, small and medium enterprises, transport operators, and those responsible for delivering public services.
This RMRP II project follows the first $US40 million Roads Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project (RMRP) which started in 2002 and received a further $US37.3 million in additional financing in 2007. This first phase was integral in rehabilitating roads and bridges in eight of Papua New Guinea’s provinces: Central, Gulf, Oro, Morobe, East New Britain, West New Britain, Manus and Western Province.
“Over the past decade we have seen how good roads can change people’s lives in Papua New Guinea: children can get to school on public transport; ambulances can take people to hospitals and businesspeople can send their goods to markets,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea. “Through this project we will continue to work with the Government of Papua New Guinea to rehabilitate roads and transform people’s lives by connecting them to the things they need most”.
The project, which will be implemented by Papua New Guinea’s Department of Works, will commence in the latter half of this year and will continue until 2016.