WASHINGTON, January 11, 2017 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 230 million loan today to finance the paving of the highway between San Ignacio de Velasco and San José de Chiquitos. This project will improve accessibility and connectivity and reduce transport times and costs for nearly 125,000 inhabitants of the region and other users of the route. This section of the road forms part of the Chile-Bolivia-Brazil Bi-Oceanic Corridor.
The Project for the Highway Corridor to Connect Santa Cruz will improve access conditions of four municipalities in the short term: San José, San Rafael, San Miguel and San Ignacio, where most of the population – 61 percent – identify themselves as belonging to the Chiquitano indigenous community, and a smaller percentage to the Ayoreo indigenous community.
These communities’ main economic activities are agriculture, livestock production and forestry. Highway improvements will provide direct benefits to these populations, including lower transportation costs, which will be reflected in better prices for their products and improved access to goods and services.
“The effort Bolivia is making to improve its transportation structure is crucial for providing efficient, reliable access to markets for farmers and to services and employment opportunities for the general population,” said Alberto Rodríguez, World Bank Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. “The benefits of this project are for all users of the route, but especially for the inhabitants of the remote rural areas of this eastern region of the country.”
The project has strategic importance for economic development and poverty reduction in an area with one of the highest concentrations of production in the country, including agriculture, processing of sugar, oils, soy and dairy products; and manufacturing of construction materials, furniture and leather goods.
Additionally, it will complement the “Mission Circuit,” which UNESCO selected as a World Heritage Site and which promotes tourism in the region. The project will also facilitate travel to Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, a natural reserve located in northeastern Santa Cruz Department.
In the long term, as a key section of the Bi-Oceanic Corridor, the highway will contribute to the diversification and expansion of production, trade and services, which are critical factors for job creation, and consequently, for increasing income of Bolivian families.
“Under the Current Country Partnership Framework, the World Bank is providing resources to Bolivia, mainly to finance projects in rural development, irrigation, water and sanitation, urban development and basic services, which will directly and indirectly benefit an estimated 4.5 million Bolivians, most of them low-income,” said Nicola Pontara, World Bank Representative in Bolivia.
Financing will total US$ 230 million, of which US$ 200 million correspond to a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with a maturity period of 16 years and a grace period of 13.5 years. The remaining US$ 30 million are a loan from the International Development Fund (IDF), which has a maturity period of 24 years and a grace period of five years. The IBRD and IDF are entities of the World Bank Group that provide financing to governments of their member countries.
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