The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to provide a $150m loan to finance a major road project in Tajikistan.

As agreed, the funding will be used to build a 44km-long stretch of the M41 road, which connects the Central Asian nation with the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and China.

The investment will also help in building pedestrian crossings, road lighting, bus stops and special family rooms at rest stops on the road.

This project is expected to benefit the local population of the Rasht Valley in Eastern Tajikistan with new economic opportunities and better regional connectivity.

Five trading areas will also be established along the road to help around 8,000 local female entrepreneurs.

The EBRD loan follows joint funding by the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build a bypass on the M41. The bypass will help in accommodating a hydropower plant in the region.

To date, Tajikistan has received more than €700m from EBRD to support various development projects in the country.

In January this year, EBRD allocated a sovereign loan of $137m to upgrade a major road in Mongolia. The funding will be used to upgrade the 202km road between Ulaanbaatar and Darkhan.

The international financial institution also approved a €259m loan last month to upgrade transport infrastructure in Belarus.

Around €133m will be used to modernise the M3 motorway, while the remaining €126m was allocated to upgrade 12 bridges.