WASHINGTON, March 18, 2016 – Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a financing of US$ 12.0 million equivalent for the Urban Development Project in the Kyrgyz Republic. US$ 6.6 million of this financing is a concessional credit, and US$ 5.4 million is a grant.
The Urban Development Project aims at improving the quality of municipal services, energy efficiency, and seismic resilience of urban infrastructure in a number of towns of the country. Specifically, the project will improve water supply in Kerben and Sulukta, help switch Toktogul and Balykchy towns to more energy-efficient street lighting options, improve solid waste collection in almost all of these towns, as well as work on the seismic safety and energy efficiency of the existing social infrastructure.
“This project is part of the World Bank’s engagement strategy aimed at addressing poverty and vulnerability in urban areas through improved access and quality of municipal services. The project will both help improve municipal infrastructure, such as water supply, street lighting and roads, and build capacity for service delivery,” says Jean-Michel Happi, World Bank Country Manager in the Kyrgyz Republic. “Working closely with both central and local government authorities, the new Urban Development Project will provide an opportunity to extend the Bank’s support to the towns that are experiencing important development pressures such as population growth, have large gaps in service provision, and lack financial means to bridge these gaps.”
An important part of the project will be strengthening the Kyrgyz government’s capacity in urban planning as well as the capacity of the participating towns to deliver local services. At the national level, the project will promote the country’s urban policy reform agenda by supporting the State Agency for Architecture, Construction and Communal Services in the formulation of urban policy objectives and priorities to be then reflected in an urban policy development roadmap. At the local level, the project will help participating towns in developing short- and medium-term performance improvement plans for utilities, procuring and installing automated customer registers and billing and collection tools to upgrade revenue management and generation systems, as well as in developing energy savings action plans.
“The Urban Development Project is expected to benefit 59,000 country residents in total, including women and children, especially, girls,” says Kremena Ionkova, the World Bank’s Senior Urban Development Specialist and the TTL of the Project. “The positive outcomes of the project will include reduced burden of fetching water for household use, secure and better managed solid waste collection services, higher level of comfort in schools especially during winter months, improved lighting of roads and public spaces – all areas of activity where women are disproportionally affected. Participating towns will benefit from reduced energy expenses as well as from renovated and more functional infrastructure.”
The project will be implemented in 2016-2020 by the Community Development and Investment Agency (ARIS) in close cooperation with the State Agency for Architecture, Construction and Communal Services and participating towns. The Kyrgyz government will contribute an equivalent of US$ 2.4 million to support the project implementation.
The World Bank’s overall mission in the Kyrgyz Republic is to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and shared prosperity. 45 percent of the World Bank’s assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic is in the form of grants. The other 55 percent is in highly concessional credits with no interest, and only a 0.75 percent service charge. Credits are repayable in 38 years, including a 6-year grace period, while grants require no repayment. The Bank’s financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic since 1992 amounts to over US$1,3 billion, in the form of grants and highly concessional credits.