MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help transform fast growing towns along cross border corridor routes in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) into vibrant economic hubs.
“Small and medium-sized towns play an essential role as market places and transport hubs along the transport corridors, which are being transformed into economic corridors. Infrastructure development energizes this process of transformation towards more green and inclusive cities,” said Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “Improving critical services will make the target towns more competitive and attractive for investment, which will help unlock their economic potential and ultimately benefit the whole subregion.”
Loans totaling $167 million will fund infrastructure upgrades in seven towns in Cambodia and Viet Nam situated along the East-West and Southern Economic Corridors. Assistance will also be given to raise the urban planning and management capabilities of provincial and district authorities overseeing the towns.
The project will upgrade roads, build wastewater treatment and solid waste management facilities, and flood control measures in Battambang, Bavet, Neak Loeung and Poipet in Cambodia and Dong Ha, Lao Bao and Moc Bai in Viet Nam. The towns are fledgling centers for agro-industry, tourism, manufacturing, and trading, which the project will aim to scale up.
Improving the environment and strengthening resilience to climate change is a key goal and support will be given for flood control measures and innovative solid waste recycling facilities. Cofinancing will be provided by ADB-administered loans and grants from the Strategic Climate Fund and the Urban Environmental Infrastructure Fund, financed by the Government of Sweden. Additional project funds will come from the national governments.
The interventions in Cambodia and Viet Nam are being complemented by similar upgrades in Lao People’s Democratic Republic as part of a broad GMS thrust to turn cross border transport corridors into full-fledged economic centers of activity. The project will run for six years, with an expected completion date of December 2018.