The Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan of US$329 million to build access roads to approximately 4,000 villages in the Indian state of Gujarat.
The project will include the construction and upgrade of district and farm-to-market roads, providing rural families greater access to schools and hospitals. It will also help integrate rural populations, tribal villages, businesses and industry with the national and state economy.
"This project will directly contribute to the economic development of the State of Gujarat, and India, by improving the mobility of the rural population,” said D.J. Pandian, vice president and chief investment officer at AIIB. “By integrating isolated and poor rural populations with the rest of the state, and improving their access to critical social services, such as education and healthcare, we can have a positive impact on the economic and social outcomes of these local communities."
The project is part of the multi-phase Government of Gujarat’s "Chief Minister’s Rural Roads Program", which complements the Government of India’s “Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Program”.
AIIB said it will use a newly created software tool specifically designed to assist with rural road development. If successful, the monitoring tool will be used in future projects.
The Beijing-based multilateral development bank, largely funded by China, has previously supported a solar plant project in Kazakhstan, a flood management project in the Philippines, a hydro-power plant in Georgia, canals and water tunnel projects in Sri Lanka, as well as electricity and roads projects in India.
Commencing operations in January 2016, AIIB aims to address daunting infrastructure needs across Asia. It has 80 approved members from around the world and is tasked with improving economic and social development in Asia by investing in high quality, financially viable and environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.