WB lends $30m for rural project

The World Bank`s board of directors has approved a $30 million loan for a rural investment project in Azerbaijan, the World Bank said in a press release.

The goal of the Second Rural Investment Project in Azerbaijan (AzRIP-2) is to improve access to community-driven rural infrastructure and expand economic activities for rural households. As a result of the project, nearly 1.5 million rural residents in Azerbaijan will have better access to infrastructure and social services.

With $23.6 million as government contribution, the total financing for AzRIP-2 will be $53.6 million. This new project builds on results of a highly successful previous project which contributed to raising incomes of 600,000 farmers, improving irrigation services for 700,000 people and providing safe drinking water to 150,000 villagers.

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, according to the World Bank.