WASHINGTON, September 27, 2018— Today, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$200 million loan to improve institutional mechanisms for maintaining and managing rural roads in Eastern China. The Program for Results (PforR) will focus on rural roads in ten counties in Anhui Province, directly benefiting 1661 villages and a population of about 11 million.
Maintenance of infrastructure is becoming a key issue for China in its next phase of development. In the past decades, China has rapidly expanded its roads, railways and other infrastructure, and going forward it needs to pay growing attention to maintaining those assets. This requires a shift in government spending as well as institutional reforms to manage the money in the best possible manner.
Rural roads in Anhui Province increased significantly from 34,000 km in 2000 to 172,000 km in 2015. Now, the government seeks innovative ways to manage this network, improving its quality, maintenance, resilience, and safety, while preserving the environment.
The US$200 million PforR leverages over US$5 billion in provincial rural road spending. While helping Anhui province adopt these new approaches, the program will also provide a model that can be shared with other provinces in China as well as other countries with inadequate rural road network management. The joint World Bank-Ministry of Transport TransFORM knowledge platform will be used for this purpose.
“The World Bank will help local authorities explore new concepts and implement innovations, including in institutional reform, monitoring and evaluation, bridge reconstruction and maintenance, and road maintenance and operation. One key goal of this financing is to ensure such innovations will be replicated elsewhere in China and abroad,” said Jacques Buré, World Bank lead transport specialist and team leader for the program. “These innovations should also lead to a lower carbon footprint by, for instance, adopting a more efficient maintenance system that will lower the need for road reconstruction."
Focused on ten counties in the Huai River basin, the Anhui Rural Road Resilience PforR will achieve its objective through three result areas:
1) Improved rural road connectivity and safety, by enhancing institutional mechanisms for upgrading rural roads, widening pave access to remote villages, and improving traffic safety facilities, among other activities. The goal will be for 75 percent of county and township roads to be in excellent or good condition
2) Maintained quality of rural roads through better management of the rehabilitation of damaged bridges and other maintenance activities, with the goal of maintaining 98 percent of rural roads in the counties.
3) Strengthened institutional capacity through institutional reform and capacity building for municipal and county staff. The goal will be for the Program’s results to be rolled out to other counties in China and shared with other countries.
The communities along the roads covered by the program will benefit from reduced travel times, safer road conditions, and more reliable access. The 11 million people in the ten participating counties, including 10 percent who are living below the national and provincial poverty lines, will benefit from improved access to employment, social services, and other economic opportunities.
A PforR is a development financing instrument that the World Bank introduced in 2012, which formally link disbursements of money to the achievement of results.