Nepal government and the World Bank jointly launched the US$275 million (Rs. 34.96 billion) Accelerating Nepal’s Regional Transport and Trade Connectivity (ACCESS) Project on Sunday.
The project aims to help improve trade and connectivity by reducing trade and transport costs and transit time along the selected corridors in Nepal.
Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Prakash Jwala and the World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser, jointly launched the project amidst a function, according to a press release issued by the WB. “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,” remarked Minister Jwala.
Under the Project, the 69-kilometre 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 per cent, thus providing better access to India’s western seaports.
The project includes construction of 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 the 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,” pointed out Martin Raiser, World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region.