The Khulna and Barisal divisions comprise 24.1% of the total area of Bangladesh and account for 18.4% of the country's population, of which 47% lived below the upper poverty line in 2000. Efficient rural transport and supporting infrastructure, in particular improved access were essential for poverty reduction and economic development in Bangladesh. Better quality rural roads raised service levels in public transport, improved comfort, made private trips less costly, and provided savings on vehicle operating costs (VOC) of 30%-50% for all vehicles.
The Government of Bangladesh had identified 2,100 rural markets of the estimated 8,600 rural markets as growth center markets to serve as focal points and catalysts for poverty reduction and economic and social development. The rationale for the project was consistent with the government's strategy for rural development in emphasizing agricultural development, improving physical infrastructure, and generating income for the poor.
This study validates the completion report's assessment of the project, which aimed to increase economic opportunities for the rural poor through participatory improvement of sustainable rural infrastructure, social and gender development, and better local governance in the project area. IED overall assessment: Successful