DUSHANBE, December 3, Asia-Plus  -- On Saturday December 1, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Tajikistan signed an agreement for a project that will help rehabilitate key infrastructure in northeast Tajikistan to restore access for rural communities that were isolated after flooding washed away a suspension bridge in 2006.

Tatiana Yevstifeyeva, information officer, ADB Dushanbe Office, said that Safarali Nadjmuddinov, Minister of Finance, and Abadurahim Ashour, Minister of Transport and Communications signed the agreement for the Government of Tajikistan. Hiroshi Takahashi, Charge d''Affaires, Embassy of Japan in Tajikistan, and Mr. Makoto Ojiro, ADB’s Country Director for Tajikistan witnessed the signing ceremony. 

The project highlights the Government of Japan’s significant contribution to ADB’s goal of reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will provide a $2 million grant to be managed by ADB for the Sustainable Access for Isolated Rural Communities Project, estimated to cost $2.4 million. The balance will be covered by the Government of Tajikistan.

“The project will ensure safe, efficient and sustainable access for the rural poor and contribute to sustainable economic development and social stability. The project will also promote the self-sufficiency of the affected rural villagers by making them accountable for their infrastructure maintenance needs,” Mr. Ojiro said.

The project will involve the rehabilitation of an existing 242-meter bridge connecting two villages in the Rasht district to restore access for rural communities in one of the poorest regions of the country. The bridge is 18 kilometers downstream from the destroyed suspension bridge, which provided a crucial link across the Surkhob River. It was the only bridge within about 80 kilometers, and carried an average of 300 vehicles a day.

The undertaking also involves the construction of a 1-kilometer bridge approach road on each side of the Surkhob River, the upgrade of a 14-kilometer rural road in the immediate vicinity of the affected communities and the introduction of community-based infrastructure maintenance practices.

JFPR was set up in 2000 with an initial contribution of Y10 billion (about $90 million), followed by additional contributions of $155 million and a commitment of $50 million.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.  In 2006, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $8.5 billion, and technical assistance amounting to almost $242 million.