A Further 24,000 Bolivians to Benefit from Urban Infrastructure Projects
LA PAZ, October 23rd, 2012 — More than 150,000 Bolivians from rural areas will benefit from a US$50 million Rural Partnerships Project II (PAR II), while an additional 25,000 residents of the capital city and El Alto will take advantage of a US$24 million Urban Infrastructure Project. Both credits were approved on Tuesday by the World Bank (WB) Board of Directors in Washington, DC.
PAR II builds on the PAR project that since 2005 has supported 779 productive partnerships between domestic and foreign producers and buyers in Bolivia. Focused on various sectors, from fruit and vegetable farming to milk production, honey and handicrafts, the PAR project had a direct impact on the economic situation of more than 29,300 Bolivian homes in 110 municipalities around the country.
“For the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, PAR is a successful project that can be copied nationally and has recently been adapted to the context of other countries,” stated the Minister of Rural Development, Nemesia Achacollo. “Its impact on families was significant, increasing annual incomes by more than US$2,000 as a result of small scale producers selling their products. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that all links in the productive chain benefit from the support provided to primary production, fostering growth at the local, regional and national economy level.”
Through PAR II, the Bolivian Government intends to reach at least 35,000 homes (approximately 150,000 people, mostly self-identified as indigenous) scattered in 120 municipalities in Beni and La Paz departments in the country’s Northwest, Santa Cruz in the East, Chuquisaca and Tarija in the South and Potosi in the West. The main objective of this project is to promote the creation of new business opportunities for producers and buyers, as well as to consolidate those partnerships that received support during the first phase.
Susan Goldmark, World Bank Director for Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, stressed that “through PAR II, we seek to promote the new productive development approach successfully piloted during PAR I. It involves taking advantage of market opportunities, direct transfers of resources to rural producers and the counterparty capital provided by producers themselves to guarantee business sustainability.”
The US$24 million project represents additional financing for the Urban Infrastructure Project, an expansion of the first phase to 24 additional neighborhoods in low income urban areas in the city of La Paz. It is estimated that almost 24,000 people will benefit from it.
The project will include investments proposed by the residents of these areas in the following:
- Public street lighting.
- Drainage infrastructure.
- Sanitation facilities.
- Disaster risk mitigation works.
- Community recreation facilities.
La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla stated that “La Paz is taking important steps toward its transformation. This is made possible thanks to its people and the support of international organizations such as the World Bank, which is financing this transformation with substantial funding for projects such as Barrios de Verdad, which are currently an example to other Latin American cities.”
Another city that will benefit from expanding the project is El Alto. At first, it financed infrastructure investments to improve three roads with the intention of eliminating bottlenecks and improve connectivity between the city’s north and south. The second phase of this project seeks to support the design of a public transportation modernization strategy via the elaboration of feasibility studies for a high capacity rapid bus transportation system between La Paz and El Alto. The project will also expand the urban road network by 4.5 km.
“The Barrios y Comunidades de Verdad (True Neighborhoods and Communities) Program, supported by the Bank, has become a regional example of successful urban improvement that goes beyond the typical basic infrastructure program to incorporate social and community participation aspects,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Resident Representative in Bolivia.
Both the PAR II as well as the additional financing for Urban Infrastructure are relevant to the National Government’s National Development Plan and the Bank’s 2012-2015 Strategic Partnership with Bolivia in two of its four main pillars: Sustainable Productive Development and Human Development and Access to Basic Services.
With the intention of determining the opinion of the beneficiaries of PAR II and Urban Infrastructure Project additional financing, an interactive tool is being piloted via the Internet and text messaging that will provide a mechanism to channel suggestions, complaints, and stories to find out the real situation of project execution.
The Rural Partnerships II and Urban Infrastructure projects are financed through two loans of US$50 million and US$24 million, respectively; they include a 25-year maturity period and a 5-year grace period.