The World Bank has approved a $450m project that seeks to improve road infrastructure in Nepal to facilitate connectivity and improve cross-border trade.

The grant comes at a time when the South-Asian country is working to revive the economy following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

World Bank Country Manager for Nepal Faris Hadad-Zervos said: “In the context of Covid-19, protecting people’s lives is the priority, and giving a fillip to economic recovery is equally urgent.

“Our support will pave the way for Nepal’s Covid-19 recovery by making roads safer and more efficient while helping move people and goods, creating jobs, and generating demand for local products and services.”

The Nepal Strategic Road Connectivity and Trade Improvement Project involves upgrading the Nagdhunga-Naubise-Mugling road and Kamala-Dhalkebar-Pathlaiya road.

Both the roads serve as key cross-border links and support trade with India and other countries.

In addition, the project includes improving infrastructure and facilities at border crossing points to streamline the flow of goods and to support exports.

It also seeks to ensure better screening of cargo and people crossing the border to minimise Covid-19 contagion risks.

Notably, Nepal has confirmed more than 4,300 Covid-19 cases, as of 11 June. The death toll stands at 15.

In April this year, World Bank allocated $82m for several road projects in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. With the funding, the state will upgrade key road links, as well as modernise the public works department.