BAUCAU, TIMOR-LESTE (9 August 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Timor-Leste participated in a groundbreaking ceremony today in Baucau to officially mark the beginning of construction to upgrade 58 kilometers of the Baucau–Venilale–Viqueque national road corridor.

Timor-Leste’s Public Works Minister Mr. Salvador Eugenio Soares dos Reis Pires led the ground breaking and gave a keynote speech. ADB Country Director for Timor-Leste Mr. Paolo Spantigati also spoke at the event.

“The Government of Timor-Leste received a loan of $44 million from ADB for the purpose of rehabilitating and maintaining the national roads in Timor-Leste. Rehabilitation and maintenance of these two road sections will generate employment opportunities to communities. Almost 26,500 households and their adjacent sub-districts and villages will benefit directly and indirectly from this improvement of the roads,” said Mr.Salvador at the ceremony. “The new roads will also provide better access to markets and economic services. Therefore, the project is important and a high priority for the Government of Timor-Leste.”

The Baucau–Viqueque Highway Project will boost Timor-Leste’s economic activities, reduce travel times, and open access to markets, schools, and clinics. The project is making the roads safer and more resilient to the effects of climate change.

“ADB is a long-standing partner of Timor-Leste, particular in the area of infrastructure development,” said Mr. Spantigati. “Strengthening road connectivity is widely recognized as a key factor in creating jobs, increasing agricultural productivity, and reducing poverty.”

The project is preparing a comprehensive strategy and plan for road maintenance in close coordination with the government and other development partners. The Baucau–Viqueque Highway Project is expected to be completed in 2022.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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