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July 12, 2007

ADB pledges support for traffic system development
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to support the development of traffic systems in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and to effectively utilise the “East-West Economic Corridor.”

The commitment comes as Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are gearing up for the “Week of East-West Economic Corridor” scheduled to take place in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city from August 27 to September 1.

The bank had previously provided Vietnam with a loan of US$25 million to build Road No. 9 that is part of the 1,450-km corridor running through 13 provinces of the four countries.

The ADB has also agreed to finance water supply, environmental sanitation and urban traffic projects in Da Nang city and support Vietnam’s efforts to eliminate hunger, reduce poverty and step up socio-economic development.

In another move, the bank decided to prioritise the Dau Giay – Lien Khuong expressway as part of its strategy to develop the Sub-Mekong region between now and 2012.

The 189-km road that will link the southern province of Dong Nai and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong is estimated to cost US$600 million.

Half of the financing will be sourced from the ADB, said Hua Van Tuan, Director of the Lam Dong Transport Department.

Once completed, the route will promote economic development, particularly services and tourism, in the two provinces.

Lam Dong alone expects to welcome 5.6 million visitors each year who travel to the province on the future road.

The ADB resumed its operations in Vietnam in 1993 and since then has approved 63 loans worth US$3.8 billion, 194 technical assistance grants to the tune of US$140 million and 17 other grants worth US$87 million.

The bank lent US$308 million to the country in 2006 and is expected to see that figure surge to over US$1 billion for 2007.

Over the past decade, ADB support has helped build 1,500 kilometres of roads in Vietnam, provided 6.7 million people with clean water and sanitary facilities, and brought irrigation to 200,000 hectares of land.

ADB grants and loans have also helped millions of families by providing support for income generation and livelihood programmes for the rural poor, nutrition programmes for vulnerable children, health care services in the Central Highlands and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes for vulnerable youth. VNA

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