OREANDA-NEWS. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of $9.6 million to the Republic of the Maldives to expand Kulhudhuffushi Harbor, a project expected to benefit the 8,000 people living on Kulhudhuffushi Island as well as 30,000 people living on nearby islands.

The project will construct a dedicated passenger and cargo harbor that can cater to larger cargo vessels and accommodate a long-distance passenger service from the central and southern regions. 
At present, Kulhudhuffushi Harbor is used for passenger traffic, cargo transport, commercial fishing, and transport of agricultural commodities. Increasing the capacity of the harbor to cater to 250 vessels per day from the current 150 vessels will improve connectivity in the northern region and enhance access to the services and amenities available on Kulhudhuffushi Island such as housing, secondary education, quality health facilities, and financial services. 

For residents of Kulhudhuffushi Island, located around 270 kilometers north of the capital Mal?, the project will generate employment supporting construction activities and increase opportunities in the commercial sector. 

The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure will be responsible for implementing the project, which is expected to be completed by December 2019. 

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.