Azerbaijan to Benefit from Improved Regional Connectivity and Rural Development

A new $65 million loan to the Republic of Azerbaijan to finance the Regional Connectivity and Development Project was approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The project will provide safe, efficient and climate resilient transport connectivity and improve market accessibility along the Salyan-Bilasuvar road in the south of the country. About 250,000 people living along this route will benefit from upgraded road infrastructure, as well as improved economic opportunities and easier access to essential service facilities.

“This project will help Azerbaijan to achieve its national development priorities,” said Sarah Michael, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan. “With the World Bank’s support, the country is committed to ensuring this decade that the benefits of development are evenly distribted across all areas of Azerbaijan, to build inclusive and sustainable communities, tap the full potential of rural areas, and improve people’s skills.”

The project will finance three key areas. First, investments in roads and ancillary agricultural and logistics infrastructure will contribute to supporting connectivity and market accessibility, with a view to maximizing the socio-economic development impact of upgraded roads.

Second, the project will support financial sustainability and efficiency within the road sector, through technical assistance for developing road network management systems and study options for introduction of user charges and prevention of vehicle overloading.

Third, the project will support the design and arrangement of roadside logistics and market facilities, and provision of skills training to local entrepreneurs, to improve income-generating opportunities for local communities.

“The project will support aspects such as raised road embankments and the use of appropriate road materials to address climate vulnerabilities,” said Nijat Valiyev, World Bank project team leader. “It will also provide job opportunities, both during construction of the roads and during operation of roadside facilities that will contribute to the post-COVID19 recovery.”

Agriculture is the primary economic sector in the region where the project is being implemented. Improving the capacity of local markets and enhancing access to markets in the Baku Metropolitan area are crucial for the economic development and livelihoods of local farmers. By improving road connectivity, with climate-resilient measures, the project is expected to reduce transportation costs and time a, as well as road disruption risks, for agriculture supply chains and logistics.

Azerbaijan joined the World Bank in 1992. Since then, the World Bank has financed over 50 projects with total commitments of $4.4 billion.