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Paraguay: Better Highways and More Access to Markets

August 6, 2012


90% of Paraguay´s inter-urban roads are unpaved.

Photo: Erika Meza/World Bank

  • Agriculture makes up 21% of the country's economic activity and is extremely vulnerable to road transport problems.
  • Paraguay has 60,000 km of inter-urban roads of which 54,500 km are unpaved.
  • The contractors are obliged to meet quality standards in every phase of the process.

Rain pours in Raúl A. Oviedo, a rural community 250 km from Asunción. Luis Espínola, a mandioca farmer, gathers his entire production and stores it in a small and improvised gallery under a thatch roof.

He had planned to take his harvest to a collection center in the city of Campo 9 but he will not be able to for another 4 or 5 days, when the road conditions improve and he can travel 80 km of dirt road to the city.

Agriculture represents 21% of the economic activity of the country and is one of the most vulnerable sectors in terms of connectivity problems in Paraguay, where about 90% of the 60,000 km of interurban routes are unpaved.

"I can't wait for this road to be paved", he says, “sometimes products are lost because they don't withstand storage and the work of months is lost".

Little by litlle, Espínola´s wish will come true thanks to “Ñamopora Ñanderapé” program that will build drainages, bridges and improve 142 km of dirt roads. Small farmers like him will no longer depend on road conditions to sell their products.

" I can't wait for this road to be paved "

Luis Espínola


Restore and maintain

The Ministry of Public Works and Communications program "Maintenance and Improvement of the Road Network - Ñamopora Ñanderapé” is supported by the World Bank and seeks to restore and maintain national roads.

Federico Fernández, Coordinator of the Project, explains that the primary objective is to "improve access to isolated rural communities, connecting them with the national paved network".

About 600 km of paved routes are being restored.  "The improvement and maintenance of the paved road network has been mostly completed, enabling the restoration of roads which now also have better signage", said Fernández.

One of the innovations is the "Maintenance Contracts by Service Levels" in which the contractors are required to meet quality standards in each phase of the process, with monitoring by the MOPC before issuing payment.

The National Transit Law was also updated and a control board, a tool for monitoring the budget execution, will contribute to greater transparency.