The World Bank approves USD 1.03 billion for South Asia's connectivity and trade

The World Bank announced a USD 1.03 billion grant on Tuesday to increase regional trade in Bangladesh and Nepal . The ACCESS initiative will also support the integration of landlocked Bhutan and Nepal with the gateway countries of Bangladesh and India .

Washington, December 29, 2018 : The World Bank announced a USD 1.03 billion grant on Tuesday to increase regional trade in Bangladesh and Nepal by lowering trade and transport costs and transit time along the regional corridors, according to a World Bank statement.The Accelerating Transport and Trade Connectivity in Eastern South Asia (ACCESS) Program Phase 1 will assist the respective governments in overcoming the major barriers to regional trade, including manual and paper-based trading schemes, insufficient transportation and trade infrastructure, and strict trade and Regional trade accounts for only 5 percent of South Asias total trade today, while East Asia accounts for 50%, according to the official statement.South Asia can boost economic development dramatically and foster employment opportunities for millions of people by improving regional trade and connectivity, according to the official release.The ACCESS initiative will also support the integration of landlocked Bhutan and Nepal with the gateway countries of Bangladesh and India by providing green and climate-resilient construction.More border cooperation and coordination can be achieved within and between countries, minimizing the physical inspection of commodities, and simplifying procedures, according to World Bank Task Team Leader Erik Nora.The ACCESS Project in Bangladesh will receive a USD 753.45 million grant to upgrade the 43 Km stretch of the two-lane Sylhet-Charkai-Sheola road to a four-lane road that connects Sheola Land Port to the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway.

It will also encourage the modernization of the Chattogram customs house, which processes 90 percent of all import and export declarations in Bangladesh, into a four-lane highway that is climate-resilient, with a focus on improving road safety.The project will also improve Nepal's readiness and subsequent implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).According to a World Bank statement, the Nepal Task Team Leader and co-Task Team Leader of the Program, Oceane Keou, is crucial to ensure trade development, long-term stability, and stability of investments by minimizing actual impacts on the environment, birds, and plants, as well as Nepal's road network, which transports 90 percent of passengers and goods.