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Uruguay Innovates to Achieve Better Results in Road Infrastructure

November 14, 2012


Road maintenance in Uruguay

World Bank

  • The country becomes the first in the region to use the new World Bank financing tool
  • In three years, the program will repair 524 kilometres of road, bridges and drains, and will improve signage along nearly 9,000 kilometres of roads
  • This initiative is also being implemented in Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania and Vietnam

The number of women receiving prenatal care, the percentage of reduction in child mortality, the kilometers of road built or the improvements in levels of schooling. Facts, figures and measurable elements. Government officials, parliamentarians and private sector and civil society representatives are demanding programs which help achieve sustainable results.

In response to requests from countries seeking innovative solutions to development challenges, last January the World Bank approved a new financing tool called Program-for-Results (PforR). This financing instrument supports ongoing government investment programs and its main feature is to distribute funds once specific results have been achieved.

So far, only four countries have  implemented this tool: Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania and Vietnam. In Latin America, Uruguay is the first country to use it to improve its road infrastructure.

"We are not supporting a 'Bank project' with a few stretches of improved roads here and there. On the contrary, the program supports road rehabilitation in Uruguay as a whole," said Gregoire Gauthier, Task Team Leader for the National Road Network Rehabilitation and Maintenance Program.

It is expected that about 500 kilometers worth of road will be improved by 2015, including bridges, drainage systems and improvements to 8,875 km of road signage along the Uruguay National Road Network.

Gauthier described this tool as "a complete change and evolution in terms of focus. Moreover, the supported activities are part of the overall funding for a broader program in a developing country."

Using national systems and implementation processes, this instrument allows the government to focus on institutional development and to improve the efficiency of the supported programs. The new tool also provides opportunities to improve coordination between actors, national and international institutions participating in national programs.

Results are also expected to be seen in the way the road sector is managed as a whole through improvements to planning capacity, road safety, and communication with civil society. Moreover, the supported activities are part of the overall funding for a broader program in a developing country".

" It's a great tool. We share its philosophy of incentives to promote good practices  "

Enrique Pintado

Uruguayan Minister for Transport and Public Works

Everyone, even the companies contracted to do the work, must report results.

"Experience shows that these contracts, in which the private contractor is responsible for the quality of the road, and charges when obtaining that level of quality, are very cost-efficient," said Gauthier.

In short, it is the country which runs the program and the money is made available once the  results have been achieved and verified.

Road Network Rehabilitation and Maintenance Program

In Nepal, for example, the PforR instrument will support the government’s program to maintain 89 bridges, many of which are over 35 years old, complete major and minor maintenance on over 300 bridges, and construct 121 new ones. In Morocco, the tool will support the second phase of Morocco’s National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), targeting poor rural and urban Moroccan communities, providing funding to improve education for rural girls and better access to water for rural populations, among others.

For Uruguay, the goal is to have high quality roads, reduce transport costs, develop logistical activities and promote the country's economic activity. "It's a great tool. We share its philosophy of incentives to promote good practices," said Uruguayan Minister for Transport and Public Works, Enrique Pintado.