WB funds US$30 million more for rural communities
Baku, Fineko/abc.az. The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved yesterday a US$30 million loan for the Second Rural Investment Project in Azerbaijan (AzRIP-2).
The Bank reports that with US$23.6 million as Government contribution, the total financing for AzRIP-2 will be US$53.6 million.
"AzRIP is widely recognized as a highly successful program Over the past seven years, it has demonstrated comprehensively the dividends from investing in community empowerment and local development to serve and improve the well-being and economic prospects of the poor. AzRIP-2 will scale up the project into currently unserviced districts, provide support for building livelihood opportunities for the rural poor, continue to finance community identified rural infrastructure investments, and strengthen the capacity of communities in partnership with municipalities to identify, plan and implement effectively their development priorities," said Daniel Owen, World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist and the Project Leader.
Almost half of Azerbaijan’s population and about 40 percent of the country’s work force live in rural areas. Despite the substantial increase in government investment in basic infrastructure over the past few years, there remain gaps in terms of access and quality of public services for the rural population. A key constraint is the infrastructure deficit manifested by lack of rural roads, irrigation and drainage systems.
"Programs such as AzRIP are critical in shaping public service delivery in rural Azerbaijan. The project has given the rural poor primary decision-making authority in determining their priority development needs, and has significantly increased access to services for over 1.5 million people through infrastructure improvements. In particular, AzRIP-2 seeks to strengthen access to improved rural infrastructure, which would lead to increased productivity in agriculture, higher incomes for farmers, and improved quality of life for beneficiaries,” said Henry Kerali, new World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.
The project will target rural communities with a population of between 1,000 and 10,000 people.
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