World Bank approved two loans for Romania

The World Bank Board of Directors approved yesterday two loans for Romania amounting to US$ 275 million for the Transport Restructuring and Modernizing of Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (MAKIS) Projects.

The Transport Restructuring Project, in the amount of US$ 225 million, will be implemented over the next 5 years. It has two major components: improvement of roads infrastructure and the railway system. Under the roads component, much needed bypass roads will be constructed in at least 5 big cities in Romania — Brasov, Bacau, Targu Mures, Reghin and Medias. These bypass roads will help divert traffic from inner city, so that the transport speed of both passengers and freight will increase considerably while road safety will be ensured. One other positive advantage for the public will be the decrease in pollution levels within cities, as well as protection of cultural heritage buildings at present endangered by heavy traffic.

Under the railway component passenger and freight transport will be modernized through the implementation of an integrated computerized system. This will ensure the planning of the traffic and more speedy, safe and economical service. In addition, the project will finance acquisition of modern machinery to be used for the maintenance of the railway infrastructure. All this is expected to result in increased efficiency in railway traffic moving Romania to the highest EU standards in railway services.

The MAKIS (Modernizing Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems) Project, in the amount of US$ 50 million, will also be implemented over the next 5 years. The objective and intended outcome of this project is to ensure that farmers increase their incomes and the rural areas would achieve sustainable development. To achieve this, MAKIS is to implement some of the EU commitments on-the-ground. For example, MAKIS would help Romanian farmers modernize their production activities and assistance will be provided for all stages of the agricultural process from the use of fertilizers and increasing productivity. In addition, measures will be taken to ensure the quality of the agricultural food products and raising quality of food processing to promote „high quality“ agricultural exports to EU market. Work will be done extensively in training and supporting the National Authority for Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety. Last but not least, MAKIS will assist five strategic national Romanian research institutions. These will receive an infusion of research and advisory technical assistance to help enhance their relevance to the changed EU-related conditions and to help Romania meet the competitive challenges of a single market economy from 2007.

The World Bank has been a committed partner in Romania’s development process since 1990, with loans totaling over US$4.2 billion. The 2004-2005 lending program is likely to be the highest amounting to almost US$ 850 million.

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