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Current focus and key challenges

Transport is a key enabler of growth, providing the physical networks and services upon which the economy depends for the movement of people and goods. By connecting areas of economic activity within a country, transport increases access to markets and services. From a social perspective transport provides the individual mobility that is critical for the people of the region, in terms of access to markets and essential services such as health and education. The provision of efficient, safe and sustainable transport is therefore fundamental for economic growth and the development of well-functioning markets.

The Bank’s Vision for the Transport Sector

The Bank’s vision for the region is for the achievement of safe, secure and sustainable transport systems, which embody market principles, balance economic, environmental and social needs and are responsive to the needs of industry and the individual. To achieve this vision, the Bank will finance well-structured public and private sector projects, working with domestic and international companies, offering a diverse range of financial products to meet the financing needs of its clients and the transport projects they sponsor.  Alongside its investments, emphasis will continue to be placed on policy dialogue as a key instrument for the Bank to meet its strategic objectives.  This on-going dialogue provides the forum for the Bank to engage with governments across the region on sector reform, energy efficiency, environmental and social practices, and other policy issues.  The predominant focus of the Bank’s approach will be to build on its transition and sustainability achievements to date, taking a strategic and long term view of the reform process and key policy issues in each transport subsector.  This engagement will be supported by targeted Technical Cooperation projects, providing practical assistance to address key reform issues across the transport sector.

Market Based Transport

The Bank will continue to place transition at the core of its activities in the transport sector. Whilst significant progress has been made, much remains to be done to improve efficiency, market-orientation and financial sustainability; develop the private market for transport services; and increase private sector participation in the provision of transport infrastructure through concessions. The Bank will leverage its substantial and wide-ranging experience to continue assisting the public and private sector in the transition process of the transport sector.  Where transition challenges are limited, the Bank would not consider a sovereign approach.  The Bank will continue to support the trend of the preceding period, placing emphasis on private and public non-sovereign investments, including commercial loans to state-owned enterprises.

Sustainable Transport

The Bank is committed to supporting the development of sustainable transport networks in the region, and is a signatory of the joint IFI statement issued at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.  Sustainability in the transport sector encompasses a broad range of topics, including environmental, social and economic issues.  Climate change mitigation and adaptation, integrated network development, pollution prevention, air quality and biodiversity protection, economic inclusion and gender equality, and road safety, are important  sustainable transport issues covered by this Strategy.  The Bank will address sustainability at the policy and project level, and ensure a participatory approach to project preparation and implementation.

Broadening the Sector

The Bank will expand the boundaries of its activities in the transport sector, for example seeking opportunities to finance the developing intermodal and logistics sub-sectors across the region.  The need for freight services is growing, and Bank will respond to this demand by financing these emerging sectors, including road freight, and in doing so will aim to  promote sustainable development and reducing CO2 emissions given the potential of logistics operations to lower energy consumption through optimised networks.  It will also respond to market needs in other areas of the sector, such as railway station development and intercity bus and coach services.   

Measuring Success

In line with the challenges identified in the Strategy and the Bank’s proposed response, a series of Strategic Performance Indicators (SPIs) have been devised which will serve as the basis for the Bank to evaluate the transition and sustainability achievements under this Strategy.  These SPIs are defined and explained in Section 4 of the Strategy.


Last updated 22 October 2013

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