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ADB loan to improve connectivity in northwestern mountains

Released at: 19:18, 05/03/2019

ADB loan to improve connectivity in northwestern mountains

Photo: ADB

$188-million loan to improve road connectivity between Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway and northwestern provinces.

by Linh San

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $188 million loan for the Northern Mountain Provinces Transport Connectivity Project, which will improve road connectivity between the Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway and northwestern provinces, enhancing economic opportunities for some of the poorest people in the project area.

The loan will finance improvements and upgrades to 198 km of roads that connect several towns and districts in the provinces of Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Yen Bai with the Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway, part of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Kunming - Hai Phong Transport Corridor that connects the Hanoi region to the north of Vietnam and to Yunnan province in China.

The Australian Government will provide a grant of $4.481 million to finance the detailed engineering design of the project roads. The grant will also support programs for axle load control, HIV/AIDS, and human trafficking, and awareness campaigns on road safety to help local people in these disadvantaged areas deal with increased traffic speed and volume on the expressway.

“The project aims to expand the benefits of the GMS corridors to the northwestern provinces,” said Mr. Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director for Vietnam. “The improved connectivity will not only boost border trade, private investment, and job creation in the region but also provide better access to basic social services, such as education, healthcare, job training, and emergency disaster relief for the people of the northwestern provinces, especially poor ethnic minorities.”

Vietnam’s northwest region, a high mountainous region comprising the provinces of Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Son La, and Yen Bai, lags behind the rest of the country, with poverty rates ranging from 18 per cent to 45 per cent in 2016. The region relies on small-scale industrial companies, such as stone and metal ore exploitation and processing.

The improved network connectivity with the ADB-financed Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway, considered the backbone of the northwest region’s road network, will further spread the benefits of the existing expressway to those living in the northwestern region.

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