World Bank pledges USD55mn loan to develop Jaffna

July 21, 2016 (LBO) – The World Bank on Wednesday pledged a 55 million US dollars loan to improve urban services, preserve cultural and environment assets, and improve livability in Jaffna.

The credit agreement for the project was signed by Treasury Secretary, Dr. R.H.S. Samarathunga and World Bank Country Director Françoise Clottes.

The credit will add development of rapidly urbanizing Jaffna to the existing Strategic Cities Development Project which is supported by the World Bank and was originally approved in 2014.

“Well planned cities can be centers of innovation and job creation as experienced in many parts of the world and this is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to connect people to prosperity,” Clottes said.

“There is substantial potential for economic growth in Jaffna, now that peace has returned. An improved urban environment is a favorable habitat for the developing enterprises that one day will become the engines of growth.”

A recent World Bank study, “Sri Lanka: a Systematic Country Diagnostic”, identifies Jaffna as a rapidly growing, single-city agglomeration in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

In the post-war era, the city has seen rapid growth and urban expansion and there are significant demands for improved municipal services.

As communicated during recent consultations, the people of Jaffna see a priority in improving city functions and livability while preserving cultural heritage.

Guided by consultations with Jaffna’s citizens, the project will attempt to improve the road network and rehabilitate the drainage system while preserving the city’s ponds, which have played an important role in flood management and which could be key to climate change adaptation.

In addition, the project aims to preserve cultural heritage assets such as public spaces and parks as well as encouraging cycling.

The credit for this project is provided by the International Development Association, the World Bank’s grant and low interest arm, with a maturity of 25 years that includes a grace period of 5 years.

The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is the lead responsible agency for the implementation of this project with active participation from Jaffna Municipal Council and other implementation partner agencies.