The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $240 million loan to improve 700 km of rural roads in Uzbekistan, the bank’s website reports.

The project will cover local and inter-farm rural roads in 12 provinces and Karakalpakstan. In particular, the reforms will target the capacity, quality, connectivity, safety and climate resilience through reinforced embankments, bridges, culverts and drainage systems.

“With almost half of double-landlocked Uzbekistan’s population living in rural areas that rely on agriculture as the main source of livelihood, connectivity is critical,” shared ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.

By developing the roads, rural communities and farmers are expected to have all-weather access to markets, schools, health services, and district centers.

The project also aims to empower rural women through training in climate-resilient farming techniques, the report stated.

Uzbekistan joined ADB in 1995. Since then, the bank has provided $10.8 billion in loans, grants and technical assistance to the country.