The World Bank has invested in more than 100 corridor-based trade and transport projects over the past three decades. There have also been numerous studies on how to improve corridor performance to enhance the trade competitiveness of Bank client countries. The BBL will explore what it takes to have fully functional transport and trade corridors. Specific examples from Africa and Central Asia will be used to illustrate the importance of adopting a holistic approach to project design that result in maximum impact and benefits.
This BBL aims at showing how the international corridors serve as confidence-building tools, bringing countries and stakeholders from various sectors together, not around the same table but along the same geographical space. The BBL will emphasize the importance of the soft aspects of how corridors operate including capacity building, competition, access to the profession, licensing, access to the market, mandatory driving and rest periods and transit systems (to name but few) and how when implemented along a trade and transport corridor they can all contribute to improving performance.
Going forward, the volume of corridor based projects will likely continue to increase given the priority they have under two Bank strategies, the Transport Business Strategy for 2008-2012 and the Trade Strategy, 2011–2021. As part of the Transport Strategy, the Bank seeks to “encourage partner countries to adopt corridor approaches to infrastructure investment and transport service improvement (including multicountry regional corridors) …” while under the Trade Strategy one of the aims is to “enhance the performance of trade corridors used by land-linked developing countries, especially in Africa; regional trade facilitation frameworks; improve markets for logistics services; increase the efficiency of border management; facilitate the cross-border movement of service suppliers ...."
The one essential concept in achieving all these is the holistic approach so as to ensure synergy between infrastructure and the trade and transport outcomes.