The infrastructure gap in South Asia is a major challenge to connectivity and integration both within countries and across the region. The electrification rate is below the average for developing countries. Even where there is access, the quality of infrastructure is low and the service is unreliable.
In this challenging context another key issue is climate change. South Asia’s developing countries bear the brunt of climate change due to disadvantaged geography, limited assets, and a greater dependence on climate-sensitive sources of income.
Over 50% of South Asians – more than 750 million people – have been affected by a natural disaster in the last two decades. With the phenomenon of climate change the frequency and incidence of such natural disasters is projected to dramatically increase.
The Infrastructure For Growth (IFG) initiative supported by The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and  the World Bank are addressing these important issues by leveraging their resources and expertise to unlock the growth potential of the region and assure a sustainable development.
The main objective of Infrastructure For Growth is to meet the infrastructure gaps in the region by addressing the major challenge of connectiv­ity and integration, both within countries and within the region.
IFG focuses on two core sectors - energy and transport - through two thematic pillars: regional economic integration and climate change. Several cross-cutting themes, crucial to sustainable development, are also funded by this window, including: sec­tor governance and reforms; private sector participation and PPPs; conflict and fragility; social inclusion and gender; social accountability, voice and participation; and safeguards.

Projects

Grant Title Country Project Status Objective
Bangladesh - Chittagong Urban Transport Master Plan Bangladesh Active Technical assistance is provided to support the improvement of urban transport in Chittagong. This is expected to help improve safe and smooth mobility of the residents of Chittagong and remove one of the critical obstacles for freight transport of the country. Growing economic activities in Chittagong, already crowded with a population of about 6.5 million, caused deterioration of urban transport, larger congestion, traffic accidents, and air pollution. Urban transport problems of the city hamper the country’s economic development. The city is a major port handling increasing freight handling at the port with road transport that is the major mode of freight transport to and from Chittagong port, while rail and inland waterway carry nominal share. Delays in the freight transport passing through the city would result directly in delays in the economic activities relaying on transported goods, thus the solution is sought to improve urban transport and the freight transport in particular.
Bangladesh - Intermodal Freight Logistics Bangladesh Active This study is supporting the policy dialogue on freight logistics in Bangladesh by identifying the institutional, policy, regulatory, and investment options to develop a modern and efficient freight logistics sector in Bangladesh. It also provides quantitative underpinning for designing a national logistics strategy.
Bhutan Electric Vehicles (EV) Initiative Bhutan Approved progress To provide support to the Bhutan Electric Vehicle Initiative, as well as to facilitate advice and knowledge exchange on green urban development and transport, and on use of clean energy in transport.
Bhutan - Infrastructure Gaps Mapping for Inclusive Growth Bhutan Active Analytical and advisory support is provided within this activity to support rehabilitation of one of Bhutan’s main cultural assets – traditional villages – and promote alternative livelihood opportunities, such as tourism. It aims at informing policy making on resource allocation that best serve and promote the rural areas and populations most isolated from the country’s wider growth.
Strengthening Institutional Development in World Bank-Funded Transport Projects India Approved progress To identify modern approaches and best practices emerging in institutional development and capacity building activities under World Bank-funded transport sector investments in India. Also, to identify relevant global good practices, and leverage these identified best practices to enhance the impact of World Bank Group transport investments in India.
Optimizing Resource Efficiency in Road Sector in India India Active progress To develop a comprehensive Road Asset Management Strategy and supporting guidelines for use by road agencies in India to effectively manage their road assets: to invest efficiently, preserve the road assets and avoid their premature deterioration. To also utilize energy efficiency and climate change considerations in the planning stages, improve road network efficiency, and ensure the intended level of service and safety to the road users.
Assessment of PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna) to improve its design and implementation India Active progress To enhance the effectiveness and value for money of the investments under PMGSY - a flagship program to provide all-weather road access to all the villages with a population above 500 (including 250 in special areas) through a systematic evaluation of its policy framework, business processes, and institutional structure.
Accounting for Natural Assets to Support Inclusive Green Growth in Himachal Pradesh, India India Active progress To implement natural capital accounting, beginning with forest accounts, and to add these to the system of state income accounts. Also, to support capacity development to enable the Department of Economics and Statistics, in-charge of collection, compilation, and analysis of statistics related to the state economy, to compile natural capital accounts on a regular basis, and to support policy analysis of these data.

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Improving Infrastructure in the Region / Photo Credit: Graham Crouch / World Bank
Improving Infrastructure in the Region

Photo Credit: Graham Crouch / World Bank