The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of �1 million (US$1.24 million) to assist in financing a technical assistance project for the rehabilitation of the Coastal Highway in Belize.

The funds, which are being provided through the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), will be used to conduct a feasibility study and prepare detailed plans to upgrade the road network in that country between the George Price and Hummingbird Highways.

The Coastal Highway in Belize is currently used a secondary road for persons travelling between the northern and southern districts in Belize. The highway upgrade is expected to contribute to economic development, reducing travel time for goods moving to the country's ports. The road rehabilitation will also improve the agricultural and tourism sectors' access to these districts.

"This technical assistance project will assist the government of Belize in identifying the most cost-effective option to upgrade the Coastal Highway. The findings of a Climate Vulnerability Assessment will inform the proposed designs to ensure that sustainability of the proposed project is maximised," said Andrew Dupigny, head, infrastructure partnerships at CDB.

In addition, the communities of Gales Point Manatee and Mullins River, which are located off the existing highway, are expected to have better access to services, and increased economic development opportunities, through the road rehabilitation.

The project is consistent with CDB's strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development within its borrowing member countries, as well as the Bank's corporate priority of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure.

Funds are being provided through UKCIF, which became operational earlier this year, and provides grant financing to eight Caribbean countries eligible for Overseas Development Assistance, and UK Overseas Territory, Montserrat.