||The focus of the TA will be on preparing a detailed feasibility study of the proposed Sustainable Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project which will include sector analysis, design and monitoring framework, economic and financial analysis, financial management assessment, cost estimates and financing plan. procurement plan, term of reference for consulting services, plan for improving economic opportunities for women and disadvantaged groups, social and environmental safeguards, resettlement framework, selection criteria for subprojects, plan for providing low cost water supply and renewable energy to remote areas, a capacity-building plan for local government institution and LGED, and implementation arrangement
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Rural infrastructure is needed to realize the full growth potentials of rural Bangladesh, where 75% of the total population and around 85% of the poor live. If planned and implemented properly, with the full participation of the target population, rural infrastructure development can make a significant contribution to poverty reduction in the country. Such rural infrastructure, which includes rural roads, bridges and culverts, growth center markets, and energy, are critical in addressing low rural productivity and low non-farm employment, which are the main factors causing rural poverty in Bangladesh. Based on recent experiences, increased productivity and higher employment lead to more rapid economic growth in the country, resulting in increased supply of goods and favorable prices that benefit the poor. As a result of the improved rural infrastructure, the mobility of the rural poor increases and a healthier and literate rural population gains access to a wide range of off-farm employment opportunities. Rural infrastructure development contributes to rural poverty reduction through a number of ways including (i) the migration of underemployed farm labor to alternative employment opportunities; (ii) the cost-effective transport of produce helps farm producers realize higher farm gate prices; (iii) improved roads enable easy access to rural areas for service providers including healthcare and education; (iv) the additional traffic volume gives rise to transport-related small businesses, such as, service stations, repair shops, food stalls, and guesthouses; (v) construction of project facilities and after construction maintenance generate direct employment for poor; and (vi) poor women have access to new jobs.
ADB has supported the government efforts to develop rural infrastructure through five projects in Bangladesh. The proposed Project will reduce poverty and raise incomes in selected rural districts in northwest of Bangladesh through fostering economic growth, governance and gender equity. The focus will be on widening access to markets and economic opportunities, improving local governance and promoting gender equity in economic opportunities. The design of the Project will be based on the lessons learned and the experience gained from earlier and ongoing support to the rural infrastructure development by various development partners including ADB. The lessons learned from previous projects stress the need for selecting project areas with high connectivity and poverty concentration, greater emphasis on stakeholders' participation in project design and implementation, strengthening local government capacity to manage and maintain rural infrastructure, fostering economic opportunities for poor and disadvantaged women and strengthening Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in the areas of participatory development, contract management, and financial management. The project components will be assessed and finalized during PPTA implementation and project processing, but it is envisaged (in the Government's draft feasibility report) that these may include improving upazila and union roads, constructing bridges and culverts, improving rural markets, constructing boat landing stage, and institutional strengthening and capacity building of LGED and local government bodies. The feasibility of providing low cost rural water supply and renewable energy to remote rural markets will also be assessed. Based on the experience of the previous and ongoing projects, the sustainability of rural infrastructure has been an issue in respect to financing maintenance. The proposed Project will address sustainable road maintenance including preparing a maintenance plan covering alternative maintenance arrangement involving the private sector and local governments.