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WB supports urban infrastructure, energy efficiency, forestry sectors

Update: March, 24/2012 - 09:27

WASHINGTON DC — The World Bank approved on Thursday a total of US$522 million in credit for the development of Viet Nam's urban, energy, and forest sectors.

Three projects will receive the funds: the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Region Urban Upgrading Project; the Second Power Sector Reform Development Policy Operation; and the Forest Sector Development Project – Additional Financing.

All three projects support the World Bank's new Country Partnership Strategy (2011-2016) for Viet Nam, the bank said in a press release.

"œThe approval of the three operations demonstrates the continued strong partnership between Viet Nam and the World Bank. They address emerging challenges such as rapid urbanisation, the need for an efficient power sector to meet Viet Nam's rapidly growing demand for power to support rapid growth, and the importance of sustainable management of Viet Nam's forest resources to help move rural communities out of poverty," said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Region Urban Upgrading Project will improve infrastructure and services for more than 1.5 million people in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta cities of Can Tho, My Tho, Cao Lanh, Ca Mau, Rach Gia, and Tra Vinh.

The bank release said an estimated 275,900 people living in low income areas of these cities will directly benefit from improved infrastructure such as roads, drainage, canals, water supply and sanitation, public facilities and power supply.

The bank's International Development Association (IDA) will fund this project with $292 million.

The Second Power Sector Reform Development Policy Operation is one of three policy operations that support the Government in implementing reforms in the power sector to facilitate and promote effective competition in power generation; transparency and predictability in electricity pricing and tariffs; encourage investment in power generation; and implement programmes and incentives for efficient use of electricity.

"The programme is organised around four key policy areas, which are the development of a competitive power market, power sector restructuring, electricity tariff reform, and improving demand side energy efficiency," the press release said.

For this operation, the Bank provides $200 million, half of which comes from IDA, and the other half from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The Forest Sector Development Project aims to promote sustainable smallholder plantation forestry to help raise rural incomes and support biodiversity conservation across Viet Nam's priority conservation areas.

The project supports the National Forestry Strategy through restoring and increasing forest cover, promoting market-based approaches to forestry, increasing roles and responsibilities of local forest owners, strengthening protected areas management and conserving biodiversity with the involvement of local communities.

Under the Additional Financing operation, IDA will provide an additional $30 million over three years to the project covering six provinces in the central coastal region of Viet Nam. — VNS

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