ADB-Bangladesh sign 1st trance of $1.78b loan for Dhaka-Sylhet highway


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh today signed agreement for $400 million in loan for constructing the Dhaka-Sylhet highway to improve mobility, road safety, and regional trade in the proposed north-east economic corridor in Bangladesh.

The assistance is the first tranche of a $1.78 billion multi-tranche financing facility approved by ADB on August 27, 2021 for the SASEC Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Investment Project, reports BSS.

Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, ADB, signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively at a simple ceremony at a city hotel, said a press release.

“The Dhaka-Sylhet Road will open up opportunities for the entire north-east region of Bangladesh and act as a strategic corridor for subregional, regional and international trade”, said Manmohan Parkash.

“The region is well endowed, and the corridor, which is a part of the Asian Highway network, will connect upcoming economic zones in the Sylhet region, catalyze foreign direct investment, reduce transportation and trading costs, increase competitiveness, create employment, and stimulate economic development,” he added.

Parkash also said it would connect ports and industrial hubs like Chattogram and Matarbari, and integrate the region with the rest of the economy.

The Dhaka-Sylhet corridor, once completed, will support a new trade route that connects Chattogram port with India’s northeastern states through the three land ports of Akhaura, Sheola, and Tamabil, and onwards to Bhutan and Myanmar.

The project is the main part of Road Corridor No. 5 under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program.

Transport and trade facilitation are among the priorities of SASEC members, which since 2001, have invested more than $14.3 billion in projects in the region, including 43 transport projects worth $11.4 billion.

The SASEC Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Investment Project will be delivered in four tranches.

The $400 million first tranche of the facility will help finance the initial works of the major contracts for the widening of about 210 kilometers (km) along the Dhaka-Sylhet corridor from a two-lane to a four-lane road, and add lanes for slow-moving vehicular traffic.