KATHMANDU, June 11, 2023 — The Government of Nepal and the World Bank jointly launched the $275 million (equivalent to NRs. 34.96 billion) Accelerating Nepal’s Regional Transport and Trade Connectivity (ACCESS) Project today. It will help improve trade and connectivity by reducing trade and transport costs and transit time along selected corridors in Nepal.
The Project was launched by Honorable Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Prakash Jwala and the World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser.
“The ACCESS project will help develop resilient infrastructure in Nepal and help unlock Nepal’s economic potential through better connectivity and trade, both between the provinces as well as regionally,” said Honorable Minister Prakash Jwala.
Under the Project, the 69-kilometer two-lane section of the Butwal-Gorusinghe-Chanauta road along the East-West Highway will be upgraded to a climate-resilient four-lane highway. With a focus on ensuring better road safety, the project is expected to reduce travel time by 30 percent, thus providing better access to India’s western seaports.
The project will construct at least three market areas with required internet and trade information facilities along the highway to help enhance economic opportunities, especially for women entrepreneurs and traders. The project will also support advancing Nepal’s preparedness and subsequent implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement signed by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal to allow smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories.
“Enhanced trade and transport connectivity promotes economic integration and opens larger markets among South Asian countries. The ACCESS Project will help improve regional trade and promote sustainable infrastructure development to support Nepal’s green, resilient, and inclusive development,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region.
The Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supplies, and Ministry of Forests and Environment. The Project’s financing agreement was signed by the Government of Nepal and the World Bank in September 2022.