WASHINGTON, March 25, 2022 — The World Bank approved today a total of $400 million to improve the connectivity, resilience and management of key roads in selected rural areas of Madagascar, including in the South. The Connecting Madagascar for Inclusive Growth project consists of $200 million credit and a $200 million grant that will help the country improve rural communities’ access to social and economic opportunities. The Connecting Madagascar for Inclusive Growth project, together with the ongoing Connectivity for Rural Livelihood Improvement and the Road Sector Sustainability projects, supports the government’s vision to develop the transport sector using an integrated long-term and multimodal approach.
“The World Bank has significantly ramped up its investments in the transport and connectivity sector in the past couple years because we firmly believe that better transport connectivity is key to unlocking Madagascar’seconomic and social development,” said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “With a focus on the south, we expect this project to contribute to revitalizing development in this region which has long suffered from isolation and recurrent droughts.”
The project will finance the rehabilitation and paving ofa 100 km long section of road of the RN31 between Mangoaka and Bealalana and 400 km of road on the RN10. The project will also support the maintenance of about 500 km of local roads in the vicinity of the RN10 and RN31 to reach adjacent rural communities. The rehabilitation of the RN10 and associated local roads will provide reliable and year-long access to the southern part of the country that is most affected by food insecurity, while the rehabilitation of the RN31 and associated local roads will unlock a key agricultural region in the northwest.
Building roads is crucial as well as maintaining them for their sustainability hence the importance of independent and well-run road sector institutions and this new project also aims at strengthening the latter. The project will also pilot microenterprises, performance-based contracts and other community-based maintenance programs to ensure timely repairs of local roads, better infrastructure delivery in the last mile of rural connectivity, and the creation of employment opportunities, particularly for women and youth.
Complementary interventions will also be included to improve the usage and benefits of roads in these rural areas, for example, internet-linked information kiosks will be installed to contribute to rural development and address asymmetries of information related to agricultural market pricing and weather forecasts. Other activities include basic storage facilities for water and produce, and community works to improve other selected rural infrastructure, including walkways, cycle paths and pedestrian (and livestock) bridges along paths.
“The project aims to provide reliable road access to markets and services in some of the poorest areas of Madagascar, while also incorporating features to maximize the socio-economic benefits of these roads to adjacent rural communities,” said Ziad Nakat, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist for Madagascar. “It is the third project prepared in the past couple years to support a holistic development of Madagascar’s transport sector.”
With the addition of this new project, the World Bank’s roads and transport portfolio in Madagascar now stands at $740 million. The Bank is also engaged in advanced policy dialogue with the government regarding reforms on key transport modes such as railways, ports, urban transport, and aviation.