WASHINGTON, DC, 13 December 2011 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$35 million project today that will help improve rural road infrastructure in Nicaragua, benefiting close to 75,000 people, of which slightly more than half are women.
The Rural Road Infrastructure Improvement Project has the following objectives: expand the rural population’s access to markets and social and administrative services through improvements in road infrastructure, reinforcing the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry’s (MTI, in Spanish) institutional capacity for disaster risk management and supporting the creation of short term job opportunities for residents of beneficiary areas.
“The agroindustry-related agricultural and livestock areas linked to this project are a priority for the country’s development, and will benefit from improved transport for their production, just like surrounding residents,” said Pablo Fernandez Martinez, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.
The selection of project areas was based upon five criteria:
- Regional productivity;
- Area connectivity to the main road network;
- Poverty rate; and
- Population vulnerability to natural disasters such as floods and landslides.
A total of 88 km of priority rural roads have been selected to be surfaced with paving stones in the departments of Granada, Leon, Managua, Matagalpa and Rivas.
“The road network plays a central role in Nicaragua’s economic development, as it enables people to connect with markets and services, creating trade and job opportunities that in this case will benefit those living in the country’s rural areas. This project will also help reinforce governance and transparency in the transport sector via more modern, transparent institutions with greater citizen participation,” said Camille Nuamah, World Bank Resident Representative in Nicaragua.
In Nicaragua, a country where barely a third of the population has access to paved roads, many production zones depend on an unreliable road network that is often impassable during the rainy season. This project will help improve access to markets and essential services for the population in selected areas.
The project will also benefit those living in localities close to the 40 km of priority stretches of road that will receive frequent maintenance.
The project, to be implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, will be financed through a US$29 million donation from the International Development Association (IDA) and a US$6 million loan, also from the IDA, totaling US$35 million. The credit has a 40-year maturity period and a 10-year grace period.