Nepal, World Bank launch $275 million project to boost trade connectivityUnder the project, the 69-kilometre two-lane section of the Butwal-Gorusinghe-Chanauta road along the East-West Highway will be upgraded to a climate-resilient four-lane highway.
The government of Nepal and the World Bank on Sunday jointly launched the $275 million (Rs34.96 billion) project to accelerate Nepal’s regional transport and trade connectivity.
The World Bank said in a statement that the project would help improve trade and connectivity by reducing trade and transport costs and transit time along the selected corridors in Nepal.
The project was launched by the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Prakash Jwala and the World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser, on behalf of their respective organisations.
“The project will help develop resilient infrastructure in Nepal and help unlock Nepal’s economic potential through better connectivity and trade, both between the provinces as well as regionally,” said Jwala.
Under the project, the 69-kilometre two-lane section of the Butwal-Gorusinghe-Chanauta road along the East-West Highway will be upgraded to a climate-resilient four-lane highway.
With a focus on ensuring better road safety, the project is expected to reduce travel time by 30 percent, thus providing better access to India’s western seaports.
The project will construct at least three market areas with the required internet and trade information facilities along the highway to help enhance economic opportunities, especially for women entrepreneurs and traders.
The project will also support advancing Nepal’s preparedness and subsequent implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement signed by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal to allow the smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories.
“Enhanced trade and transport connectivity promotes economic integration and opens larger markets among South Asian countries. The project will help improve regional trade and promote sustainable infrastructure development to support Nepal’s green, resilient, and inclusive development,” said Raiser.
The project will be implemented by the Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Industries, Commerce and Supplies, and Forests and Environment ministries.
The project’s financing agreement was signed by the government of Nepal and the World Bank in September 2022.