WASHINGTON, December 21, 2010 – The World Bank (WB) Board of Directors approved three projects for Argentina totaling US$1.061 billion. Both Great North projects, Water and Infrastructure, will generate opportunities for all to access water and sanitation services, as well as better road infrastructure, to promote integration and foster the competitiveness of this region of the country.
The third project, “Essential Public Health Functions II”, will benefit more than four million people participating in seven health programs.
“The Government of Argentina is strengthening its strategy to promote inclusive growth, by expanding social services for the vulnerable and consolidating health programs, with the approval of these new World Bank projects" said Amado Boudou, Argentina’s Minister of Economy and Public Finance.
The US$600 million destined for both Great North projects will inject funds into Argentina’s poorest provinces, strengthening regional infrastructure.
Penelope Brook, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, maintained that “the year ends with renewed support from the World Bank to Argentina. We have worked alongside the government in the preparation of eight projects totaling US$1.595 billion in new approvals, including today’s three. The focus of our support is to generate opportunities for all Argentines in the areas of health, infrastructure and the environment.”
Great North – Water and Infrastructure
The Great North Road Infrastructure Project will contribute to the sustainable economic development of Catamarca, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Santiago del Estero and Tucuman provinces; inhabited by 7.5 million people, 72 percent of which live in poverty and/or extreme poverty.
In these provinces, only 20 percent of the provincial road network is paved. With respect to access to drinking water and sewers, 15 percent of the population lacks running water and 61 percent lacks sewers.
The Project has US$400 million in financing, and will reduce transportation costs for users of the provincial network in selected regional corridors, improving the integration and competitiveness of Northern provinces.
For its part, US$200 million from the Water and Sanitation Project will be used to increase access to drinking water and urban drainage. The situation of one million people, now lacking access to drinking water or sanitation services, will improve over the next five years.
Consequently, they are going to have a lower incidence of water-related disease. They will be able to sell their agricultural produce, travel to school more easily or get medical attention more regularly.
Essential Public Health Functions II
The Essential Public Health Functions II Project (FESP) will contribute US$461 million to reduce the burden of disease associated to non-communicable diseases, through the expansion of clinical coverage and governance in seven priority public health programs in order to reach some four million beneficiaries, and improvements in the federal system’s public health leadership.
Specifically, the project will manage to:
- Increase the number of under-1 year olds receiving the 5-in-1 vaccine to 95%
- Increase the percentage of certified localities with epidemiological vigilance nodes functioning correctly
- Increase the amount of blood/plasma kilograms produced by Health Ministry laboratories
- Have at least 200 out of 700 participating municipalities certified as “Public Health-Responsible Municipalities”
- Reduce the amount of tobacco consumption among 18-64 year olds
All three International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) operations have a variable interest rate, a 26.5-year maturity period and a 27-year grace period. The Great North Road Infrastructure loan is worth US$400 million; the Great North Water and Sanitation loan US$200 million and the Essential Public Health Functions II loan is worth US$461 million.