World Bank, Government Of Timor-Leste Sign Agreement To Improve Critical Roads And Help Connect Thousands Of People To Hospitals, Schools, Jobs And Markets

July 13, 2011

US $20 Million to Help Repair and Upgrade 110km of Timor-Leste’s National Road Network between Dili and Ainaro

Dili, July 13, 2011---Today the World Bank and the Government of Timor-Leste signed a US$ 20 million agreement to improve critical parts of the national road network between Dili, Aileu and Ainaro and provide thousands of people living in the project area with better access to hospitals, schools, jobs and markets.

Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste and Timor-Leste’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Emilia Pires signed the grant for the project, which will support construction works to improve the safety and efficiency of the 110km stretch of road and will begin to develop long-term systems for effective road maintenance.

 “Roads are crucial for development in Timor-Leste, connecting people to the things they need most like healthcare, education and jobs,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste. “In the Strategic Development Plan the Government of Timor-Leste recognizes the importance of strengthening national infrastructure - particularly the Dili-Ainaro corridor - for the future security and prosperity of the country and its people. I am delighted to be able to sign for this project today and support the Government’s forward vision for sustainable and inclusive growth.”

A 2009 survey of road conditions found that as much as 90 percent of the national road network is in poor condition. Likely to increase as a result of climate change, extreme rainfall places heavy demands on already weak infrastructure and many of Timor-Leste’s roads become impassable during the rainy season.

This means many people are unable to reach doctors and schools when these are required, cannot reach markets to sell their produce and are cut off from families and services in other towns and villages.
The project will undertake construction works to stabilize structures of slopes, improve drainage and repair pavements, and will develop long-term systems for efficient, high quality maintenance and emergency response. A key part of the project will deliver skills and training programs to local communities and businesses so that they can undertake minor repairs and routine maintenance.

It will also create job opportunities in disadvantaged communities between Dili and Ainaro, where there are disproportionately high levels of unemployment and poverty.
Financed by the World Bank with additional support from the Government of Timor-Leste, the Road Climate Resilience project will be implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure.

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