WASHIGNTON DC, September 25, 2015 – 333,000 people in China’s southwest Guizhou Province will benefit from improved township and village roads through a $150 million loan approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors today.
The new project will be focus on developing rural transport infrastructure in Tongren Municipality in Guizhou. Located in the northeast part of the province, Tongren has a population of 4.27 million, including 29 ethnic minority groups. Its GDP per capita is less than USD 2,000, and 25 percent of its residents have incomes below the national poverty line. Because more than 96 percent of Tongren’s area is hilly and mountainous, years of poor transport connectivity between rural and urban areas has resulted in income disparities, where rural disposable incomes are only 24 percent of urban disposable incomes. Urban-Rural income disparities constitute the bulk of income inequality, a key concern of the government.
“This new project will help improve connectivity in two counties in Tongren by upgrading selected rural roads to Class IV and building rural bridges. These investments will reduce the travel time between rural areas and urbanized areas and increase the reliability of access,” said Holly Krambeck, World Bank’s Senior Transport Specialist and task team leader for the project. “By doing so, it will help improve local people’s access to markets, education, healthcare, work opportunities and other resources.”
The Guizhou Tongren Rural Transport Project will be implemented in Dejiang County and Sinan County in Tongren Municipality between 2015 and 2020. Apart from road upgrading and bridge construction, it will also provide technical assistance and training in the areas of rural road network planning, road safety and road maintenance.
Through the project, the percentage of paved township roads in Dejiang and Sinan is expected to increase from 34 percent to 100 percent and from 53 percent to 62 percent, respectively. In addition, the percentage of paved village roads will increase from 34 percent to 46 percent and from 25 percent to 31 percent, respectively. The project roads will pass through villages that are home to over 333,000 residents, or about 35 percent of the total population in the two counties.