World Bank funds M256 mil­lion foot­bridges project

Sunday Express - - Business Journal -


MORE than 27 000 peo­ple from 19 hard to reach vil­lages are set to ben­e­fit from the con­struc­tion of 35 foot­bridges that will link them to liveli­hood op­por­tu­ni­ties and es­sen­tial ser­vices.

This fol­lows the World Bank’s re­cent de­ci­sion to ap­prove the US$ 18.3 mil­lion (about M 256 mil­lion) In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (IDA) Credit for the Le­sotho Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture and Con­nec­tiv­ity Project (LTIC).

Through the project, the World Bank said, 19 hard to reach com­mu­ni­ties in five of Le­sotho’s 10 dis­tricts will ben­e­fit from the con­struc­tion of foot­bridges which will link them to var­i­ous ser­vices in­clud­ing job mar­kets and so­cial ser­vices such as mar­kets, schools and hos­pi­tals.

“The foot­bridges would be de­signed in a way that will en­able them to with­stand floods and other cli­mate-re­lated ex­treme con­di­tions and fa­cil­i­tate the safe move­ment of fe­males and males, young and old, as well as the dis­abled re­sid­ing in the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” reads part of a re­cent World Bank statement.

Com­ment­ing on the project, Public Works and Trans­port Min­is­ter, Lehlo­honolo Mo­ramotse, said the ini­tia­tive would save many lives of Ba­sotho who at times take a risk cross­ing flooded rivers to ac­cess ser­vices.

“These foot­bridges will help save lives and also con­trib­ute to im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life through ease of ac­ces­si­bil­ity to var­i­ous ser­vices,” said Mr Mo­ramotse.

For his part, World Bank Coun­try Direc­tor for Le­sotho, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swazi­land, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe, Paul Noumba Um, said the foot­bridges would ad­dress the chal­lenges re­lated to flood­ing of rivers which makes life dif­fi­cult for many peo­ple.

“The suc­cess of this project will en­sure that com­mu­ni­ties in the tar­geted ar­eas, who used to be cut off from the rest of the coun­try due to flood­ing, be­comes a thing of the past,” said Mr Noumba Um.

He ex­plained the project also sought to build the ca­pac­ity for the trans­port sec­tor to deal with and man­age road safety is­sues. “The World Bank is pleased to sup­port the Govern­ment of Le­sotho in its en­deavor to im­prove the qual­ity of life of its peo­ple.”

The project will also as­sist in im­prov­ing abil­ity to re­spond promptly and ef­fec­tively to emergencies and cri­sis sit­u­a­tions. It also in­cludes a road safety com­po­nent which will sup­port the govern­ment in ad­dress­ing road safety in a more in­te­grated man­ner. This will sup­port the govern­ment’s achieve­ment of the United Na­tions Global Decade of Ac­tion for Road Safety tar­get, which is to re­duce road deaths by half be­tween 2010 and 2020.

It will fur­ther sup­port the govern­ment in es­tab­lish­ing an in­te­grated ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tion, driver li­cens­ing and traf­fic man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion sys­tem, and the Le­sotho In­te­grated Trans­port In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem.

In ad­di­tion to im­prov­ing the in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­ity of the trans­port sec­tor, the project will also im­ple­ment Com­mu­nity En­gage­ment mech­a­nisms as well as HIV and AIDs and gen­der tar­geted ac­tiv­i­ties to change be­hav­iors and raise aware­ness on the epi­demic and other so­cial is­sues in the tar­geted com­mu­ni­ties.

The World Bank’s In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (IDA), es­tab­lished in 1960, helps the world’s poor­est coun­tries by pro­vid­ing grants and low to zero-in­ter­est loans for projects and pro­grams that boost eco­nomic growth, re­duce poverty, and im­prove poor peo­ple’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of as­sis­tance for the world’s 75 poor­est coun­tries, 39 of which are in Africa. Re­sources from IDA bring pos­i­tive change to the 1.5 bil­lion peo­ple who live in IDA coun­tries. Since 1960, IDA has sup­ported de­vel­op­ment work in 113 coun­tries. An­nual com­mit­ments have av­er­aged about $18 bil­lion over the last three years, with about 54 per­cent go­ing to Africa.

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