Governments see road investments as one of the most important public assets, especially in developing countries. Due to geographic and climatic differences, it is often challenging to implement sustainable and cost-effective solutions, which are adapted to local environments and availability of materials.
In parallel, infrastructure assets such as roads and bridges are much needed in rural areas to enable livelihood development in local communities, particularly for women and youth. Moreover, increasing connectivity is for instance essential for agribusiness investment attraction, agro-industrial parks and upgrading agro value chain.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and ORIS are partnering to develop a unique innovative program for rural roads. Using the capabilities of ORIS – the first digital materials platform for sustainable infrastructure – identified large infrastructure projects will be optimized to generate financial savings, through better designs and optimized maintenance needs. The financial savings from the optimization of those projects will then be transferred into a Rural Road Fund (‘the fund’), supported by UNIDO, to build rural road connectivity. This innovative scheme was presented on 6 October at the IRF Annual Conference 2022 hosted in Marrakech. The presentation is available here.
UNIDO will work with governments in selected countries to identify project portfolios to be optimized with rural connectivity needs along agro-industrial road corridors. The fund will also benefit from the support of public, private and financial partners, who are already active in sustainable infrastructure and capacity building in developing countries and regions. This project is an innovative public-private financial partnership based on the unique use of data and technologies to build quality roads for sustainable infrastructure.
Rural road networks are a game-changer for rural and vulnerable communities by allowing access to safer and faster trading routes. Through this partnership, the project will facilitate both investment and technology transfer for urban modernization and road infrastructure upgrading, especially to connect rural areas.
By enabling digital innovation in infrastructure road programs, UNIDO and ORIS ambition to support countries with their economic growth while addressing environmental challenges.
ORIS is a digital materials platform that enables professionals and public authorities to make data-driven decisions for more sustainable infrastructures. The platform computes the various parameters linked to the project in its real context, helping to drive investments according to priorities: carbon footprint mitigation, increased durability, local materials circularity, cost reduction, safety performance, or resilience to climate change. This Digital Pavement Design and Material Management Platform was incubated and developed in the research center of the leading building materials company HOLCIM in collaboration with the technology firm IBM. ORIS was incorporated in September 2021 as a neutral and independent company, serving with agility the construction ecosystem towards more sustainable infrastructure programs.