ADB aid for Sri Lanka to improve urban life, $150mn for water supply

Sri Lanka night illumination map
URBAN AGGLOMERATION: Satellite picture of Sri Lanka showing lights at night indicating high urbanisation

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will get Asian Development Bank (ADB) aid in a new program to improve urban living conditions, with 150 million US dollars earmarked for a water project next year, as urbanisation grows rapidly straining infrastructure.

The project, covering south Asian cities, aims to improve urban infrastructure, water supply, waste water and sewerage and the capacity of state agencies tasked with providing better living conditions in urban areas.

The ADB said that between 2010 and 2015, south Asian nations like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal urbanized at an average annual rate of 1.8%—double the world average of 0.9%.

“This accelerated urbanization trajectory is causing serious deficits in the provision of adequate urban infrastructure and services,” it said in a report.

“Uncontrolled urbanization presents a serious challenge to designing and implementing innovative, citywide, multisector, and technically complex projects, especially when coupled with systemic weaknesses in a very complex, multi-stakeholder urban ecosystem.”

The ADB said the project pipeline for the five countries in 2019–2022 is estimated to include up to 20 new loan approvals with a combined loan amount of up to $2.6 billion.

These aim to fill critical infrastructure gaps and respond to the demands of client governments and of ADB’s Strategy 2030 toward making cities more liveable and embedding innovations in projects.

One of the aims of the program is to make liveable cities projects ‘investment ready’.

Among the indicative projects for approval in 2019–2022 is 150 million dollars for Sri Lanka in 2020 for an integrated water supply program.

ADB aid will be especially improving state agency capacity for procurement and project management as well as environmental impact assessments and climate change resilience and disaster risk management. (COLOMBO, 28 August 2019)

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