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Haiti’s rural road network project gets US$33-m boost

The World Bank has approved a US$33 million grant for the development of Haiti’s rural road works.

View of a shanty town in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: Blockchain Land)

The approval came from the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday, June 18, and will see it provide the financial support to the Haiti Rural Accessibility and Resilience Project.

The funds will come through the International Development Association (IDA) and aims to improve the country’s all-weather road access in the Center Artibonite Loop Region and also strengthen the resilience of key segments of the road network.

“Increased connectivity will be critical to Haiti’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in some of the areas most impacted by the economic slowdown.”

– World Bank Country Director for Haiti, Anabela Abreu

According to the Bank, the project is critical to Haiti’s economy which sees as much as 80 per cent of transportation and movement of people and goods by road.

Further, approximately half of Haiti is poorly connected and has seen entire regions being cut off for days following major storms and hurricanes. According to the Rural Access Index Survey (2015), the lack of adequate road access for rural households impairs their abilities to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty, the World Bank cites.

“Improving rural accessibility provides windows of opportunity to improve people’s lives as well as the economy,” said World Bank Country Director for Haiti, Anabela Abreu. “This project will reduce vulnerability of rural communities by connecting them to basic services, markets and job opportunities. Increased connectivity will be critical to Haiti’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in some of the areas most impacted by the economic slowdown.”

Under the project, key activities will see the construction of four bridges, spot improvements, maintenance and repair of key road sections to make an additional 80 kilometres navigable in all weather. The new grant will also support the construction of rehabilitation of two maintenance centers – Hinche and Saint-Michel) and key regional and community markets.

The Haiti Rural Accessibility and Resilience Project, initially approved for US$75 million in 2018, was created to rehabilitate important parts of the rural road network and improve road conditions and road safety.