The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Myanmar signed an $80 million loan agreement to rehabilitate a major road to support economic development in the agriculturally rich but underdeveloped Ayeyarwaddy Delta.
The loan agreement to upgrade the Maubin-Phyapon road was signed by U Maung Maung Win, director general, Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance, and Winfried Wicklein, ADB country director for Myanmar.
“The rehabilitation of the road will improve connectivity and reduce travel times in the delta and we believe it will have a high impact on the development of the region,” said U Kyaw Lin, managing director, Public Works of the Ministry of Construction.
Underinvestment in road maintenance in past decades and the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, has left the road network in the delta in poor condition, undermining economic and social development. Upgrading the network is now a high priority.
“Cash crops and the production of high value seafood in the delta are not yet viable industries as the poor condition of the existing road network makes it difficult for products to reach markets,” said Wicklein.
“Rehabilitation of this road will improve access to markets and help the otherwise productive agricultural areas of the delta realise their full economic potential.”
The loan will also provide training and other capacity building support to the Ministry of Construction to strengthen its project development capabilities. This will include upgrading the Yangon Road Research Laboratory with the purchase of new equipment, ADB said.