WASHINGTON, November 15, 2019 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $140 million in support for Madagascar’s efforts to enhance transport connectivity in selected rural areas and to improve access to social and economic opportunities of communities.
The project will enhance road connectivity in the priority regions of Alaotra Mangoro, Anosy, and Atsimo-Atsinanana through climate-resilient interventions on secondary, provincial, and communal road networks while promoting digital solutions for rural development and transport services. Specifically, the Connectivity for Rural Livelihood Improvement Project will rehabilitate 148 km of secondary roads including 113 km section of the RNS 44 which is the only connection between the rice basin of Ambatondrazaka and the main trunk network in the Alaotra Mangoro region; 35 km of RNS12A which is the only road that provides access to the poorest districts in the country located in the regions of Anosy and Atsimo-Atsinanana.
The project will also build the Manambondro bridge on RNS12A to replace the existing ferry crossing, improve 500 km of provincial and communal roads in Anosy, Atsimo Atsinanana and Alaotra Mangoro regions. The rehabilitation and improvement of these roads will reduce travel costs, increase accessibility to basic social services and create economic opportunities for population living in rural areas.
“This project is finally emerging thanks to the contribution of the World Bank. It will allow the interconnection of the isolated areas of the targeted regions and transports. This project will also reduce the travel time between these regions, especially for the RN44, the trip between Vodiala and Marovoay will be reduced from 8 to 3 hours”, said Hajo Andrianainarivelo, Minister of Territory Planning, Housing and Public Works.
One component of this project will also support the emergence of a digital innovation ecosystem aimed at providing local content, applications, and services for rural development in the areas targeted by the project. Through mobile phones and deployment of Community Information Kiosks, farmers and enterprises in the targeted areas will receive relevant close-to-real-time agroclimatic data and forecasts, access-to-market pricing and commodity futures trading information, and climate data and local and regional market information.
“This program is more than a road construction and rehabilitation”, said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “The aim is also to take advantage of the development of digital technologies to maximize the impact of the rehabilitation of those roads to improve rural connectivity and livelihoods. We hope this innovative approach will be emulated as the country is rolling out its investment in the transport sector.”
Transport connectivity is a common challenge across key sectors in Madagascar. Poor rural connectivity has led to a decline in agricultural returns. Many agrobusinesses do not operate in rural areas because of poor transport infrastructure. Rural livelihood is also severely constrained by the lack of affordable transport services linking populations to economic opportunities and human capital services.