The World Bank approved a credit of $147 million to help rehabilitate basic urban services and improve livability in two major cities beyond Colombo; Kandy and Galle city regions.
The project seeks to produce a more spatially balanced distribution of economic opportunities, while at the same time reducing congestion in the capital and improving overall livability.
Sri Lanka’s Urban Vision is to develop more and better competitive, environmentally sustainable and well-linked cities, said Françoise Clottes, Country Director of Sri Lanka and Maldives. Well-functioning and productive urban centers are essential to put into motion and support the transformation of the Sri Lankan economy and efforts to translate economic growth into rapid poverty reduction, he said.
Known as Strategic Cities Development Project, it will improve selected urban services and public spaces in Kandy and Galle. The project will focus on improving deteriorated municipal infrastructure and services such as traffic management and public transport, water supply system, and major public spaces in Kandy.
These improvements will enhance livability for local residents and reduce congestion for commuters employed in the city. The project will also reduce flooding in Galle and create more public spaces to improve the quality of life for residents.
The most important consideration in the preparation of this project has been the sensitivity to the rich history and culture of both cities and fully understand the way their residents use urban services and spaces when enhancing them, said project leader of the World Bank, Zhiyu Jerry Chen. This development work will further enhance the attractiveness and livability of these two cities, he added.
The project will be managed by a Project Management Unit (PMU) under the purview of the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development (MoDUD). The PMU will play a critical role in coordinating all agencies and municipalities involved in project implementation, ensuring overall quality and timeliness of investments. In addition, the PMU will provide administrative services to agencies involved in the project.