The FINANCIAL — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on August 2 approved a EUR 58 million (US$ 64.6 million equivalent) IBRD loan for the Federation Road Sector Modernization Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The project, which will be co-financed by the European Investment Bank and the World Bank, is the first World Bank operation in the transport sector in BiH since 2007, reflecting a renewed focus on connectivity and strengthening key economic infrastructure as the country advances towards EU accession.
“The recent Systematic Country Diagnostic has identified investments in transport infrastructure as crucial for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s growth and inclusion,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina. “A high quality, safe and efficient road network would allow the country’s exporters greater access to markets, promote greater labor mobility and easier access to goods, services but also to employment and commercial opportunities”.
The project aims to improve road connectivity and safety for road users along selected roads, and to strengthen capacity for sustainable management of the main road network in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). 178km of main roads will be rehabilitated, including three tunnels and nine bridges. Additionally, the construction of the new route M17.3 (Neum-Stolac road) should stimulate growth in southern parts of BiH through improved accessibility to the Adriatic coast, boosting tourism development and creating jobs, according to the World Bank.
In addition to infrastructure woks, the project will support the Public Enterprise Roads FBiH in their efforts to improve financial sustainability of these and future investments, and to streamline climate resilience and road safety considerations into road design and construction, ensuring a better understanding of potential vulnerabilities of the road network to extreme weather and climate change.
“This will allow the Public Enterprise Roads FBiH to identify and regularly implement measures which could save more lives on the roads and ensure functionality of roads even during extreme weather. The latter was a particular element of the project design, as our partner – the Public Enterprise Roads FBiH – is committed to build infrastructure which would be able to withstand climate events such as floods that may be stronger and more recurrent,” said Liljana Sekerinska, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project.
The project is the first phase of the BiH Transport Sector Modernization Program and will be implemented in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Program, organized as a series of projects, will support long-term development of transport in BiH in a flexible manner, allowing for subsequent phases to be developed in other parts of the country as technical and financial opportunities arise.