DHAKA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a finance package totaling more than 200 million U.S. dollars to improve the rural road network for 51.5 million people in Bangladesh.
"Rural roads are critical to supporting the country's agriculture sector, which accounted for more than 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2015, and employs, directly or indirectly, about half of the workforce," ADB Senior Rural Development Specialist Lee Ming Tai was quoted as saying in a statement Wednesday.
"ADB's Rural Connectivity Improvement Project will support the government's current Seventh Five Year Plan, which focuses on boosting rural incomes as well as agriculture's contribution to economic development."
According to the statement, about 80 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for its livelihood.
But the sector is held back by several major constraints, including insufficient rural transport, inadequate market infrastructure, and more intense floods and cyclones related to climate change, it said.
The total cost of the project, which is due for completion in November 2023, is 285.31 million U.S. dollars, it said.
ADB will provide a concessional loan of 100 million U.S. dollars and a regular loan of 100 million U.S. dollars. The government will provide the remaining 85.31 million U.S. dollars, it added.