WASHINGTON, March 18, 2015 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan in the amount of US$ 40 million to Georgia for the Secondary Road Asset Management Project (SRAMP).
The project development objectives are aimed at improving road users’ access to social services and markets through better roads supported by the project and enhancing road asset management for the secondary roads network in Georgia.
This project will directly support the implementation of the Road Department’s Five-Year Program through improving its programming and planning processes and mainstreaming efficient contracting approaches to eliminate the existing backlog and ensure adequate maintenance of the secondary road network of 970 kilometers.
The project is in line with the strategic directions of the current 2014-2017 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Georgia. The CPS identifies two strategic pillars: (i) strengthening public service delivery to promote inclusive growth; and (ii) enabling private sector led job creation through improved competitiveness.
This project will contribute to the first pillar by enhancing the capacity of the Roads Department in roads asset management and maintenance. By improving roads infrastructure, connectivity between regions, and access to socio-economic centers, it will contribute to the second pillar of improved competitiveness and support the generation of substantial short-term employment while laying down the basis for increased permanent job creation and income growth.
“Road investments in Georgia have also been shown to have positive economy wide impacts. The Project will help people travel faster, more efficient, and safer. It will also address vulnerability by improving access for the poor to markets, services, and job opportunities,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.
In addition, this project is supporting the Government’s objective to tackle weather-related impacts, as identified in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted in December 2015 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), by improving country’s preparedness and adaptive capacity through the implementation of climate resilient measures along identified project road sections that reduce vulnerability of highly exposed communities.
“The primary project beneficiaries will include people and communities living along the project roads. The project area covers four regions – Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Shida Kartli and Guria, where people are expected to benefit from improved conditions of the project roads, reduced travel time and vehicle operating costs, and better road safety, “ said Natalya Stankevich, World Bank Transport Specialist and Task Team leader for the Project. “The project is also expected to offer more long-term direct employment opportunities in low-skilled routine maintenance activities in Guria region and short-term opportunities in rehabilitation activities in the other three regions.”
In addition, the project aims at making roads climate resilient in the mountainous Racha, so that people do not lose access to social and economic activities. This practice will be expanded by the Roads Department and applied to the rest of the road network in future.
The secondary group of the project beneficiaries will include the Roads Department and the local construction industry. Through technical assistance, Roads Department will further enhance its capacity in secondary road assets planning, budgeting, execution and monitoring. The project is expected to further boost the capacity of the local construction industry to manage and implement of contracts with an increased range of risks transferred to the private sector and getting prepared for longer-term public-private partnerships. Communities in these regions will also benefit from more reliable access to socio-economic centers which will offer better employment.