12:20 | 24/12/2017 Society
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) has approved a US$150 million loan to help improve economic connectivity and raise living standards in four of Vietnam’s northeastern provinces by enhancing basic infrastructure and services.
The assistance is expected to help over 212,000 people in Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, and Lang Son provinces.
Eric Sidgwick, ADB’s Country Director for Vietnam, said the project will help realise the great growth and development potential of the northeastern part of Vietnam, particularly in trade, agriculture, and tourism.
The provinces have significant potential to be trade hubs due to their strategic locations, but these potentials are yet to be fully realised, with their GDP per capita in 2015 remaining at US$1,160, almost half of the US$2,036 national average.
Specifically, the project will improve road connectivity among the provinces by upgrading about 121 kilometres of provincial and 144 kilometres of district roads, provide rural water supply, and improve agriculture value chain infrastructure in Lang Son province through farm-to-market connectivity and support to local businesses.
The total cost of the project is $190.3 million, with Vietnamese government contributing $40.3 million. The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023.
The same day, the ADB also approved another loan worth US$149 million to help improve basic infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh and Quang Tri province.
The total cost of the project, which is expected to benefit one million people, is US$203.52 million, with US$54.52 million contributed by the Vietnamese government.
Economic development in the project provinces has been constrained by the fragmented coverage of basic infrastructure, with the 2015 poverty rate reaching 13% compared to the 7% national average.
Moreover, the provinces are extremely vulnerable to weather-related disasters and are predicted to have the country’s highest increase in annual mean temperature at 1.7% and annual rainfall shooting up by 20%.
To address these issues, the project will improve connectivity among the provinces by upgrading and constructing about 214 kilometres of climate-resilient provincial and district roads.
It will boost business development through the construction and upgrading of rural water supplies, flood protection, irrigation, and port services.
The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023.