WB/Argentina: Housing and Urban Transformation Projects to Improve Living Conditions for more than 110,000 People

February 28, 2017

Washington, February 28, 2017 – More than 110,000 people in Argentina will benefit from access to affordable housing and transformation of urban slums thanks to two new projects approved today by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors. Totaling US$400 million, the two projects aim to improve basic services in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and improve access to formal housing throughout the country.

Our government has set clear goals with regards to access to quality housing and habitat improvement.  As the President indicated, our objective is that at the end of his mandate, 100 percent of argentines have access to drinking water and at least 75 percent to sewer systems,” said Rogelio Frigerio, Minister of Interior, Public Works and Housing of Argentina.

At the national level, the US$200 million Integrated Habitat and Housing project will increase access to formal housing through the government´s first nation-wide housing subsidy program (Línea  Solución Casa Propia). At the same time, it will seek to improve living conditions in informal settlements through better infrastructure, public services, and social programs.  The project will begin implementation in five large metropolitan areas (Greater San Miguel de Tucumán, Greater Córdoba, Greater Mendoza, San Salvador de Jujuy - Palpalá and Mar del Plata-Batán).  Approximately 3,000 households will benefit from access to housing and an estimated 18,000 households will benefit from improved living conditions as a result of infrastructure investments.

The US$200 million Metropolitan Buenos Aires Urban Transformation project will improve housing conditions and access to basic services and infrastructure in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. Through a US$170 million loan the project will support the City of Buenos Aires’ efforts to transform living conditions in the city´s largest informal settlement “Villa 31”, located within walking distance from downtown Buenos Aires. Improvements to be financed will include paved streets, water, sewage and drainage networks, new electricity grid, street lighting, new public spaces, the construction of new housing units on an adjacent plot of land, and the resettlement of families currently living under a section of the Illia Highway that crosses the neighborhood.

“In Buenos Aires we have the dream that everyone, no matter where he or she lives, has the opportunity to grow, develop and progress, with more education, access to healthcare and work.  This dream is making progress in Barrio 31,” said Horacio Larreta, Head of Government of the City of Buenos Aires.

Through a US$30 million loan to the Province of Buenos Aires, the project will also support habitat improvements in disadvantaged neighborhoods located in Greater Buenos Aires. In addition, it will help strengthen the institutional capacity for urban management at the metropolitan level.

In Argentina, approximately 18 percent of the population lives in informal settlements, or “villas/asentamientos urbanos”, and 24 percent of these settlements are less than 10 years old. In 2010, one in four households in these areas lacked access to running water, and one in two households lacked access to both water and sanitation.

“Transforming informal urban settlements into thriving neighborhoods will reach the heart of poverty in many Argentine cities and sow the seeds for growth and opportunity for thousands of people,” said Jesko Hentschel, Country Director of the World Bank for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay“Improved living conditions can help break the vicious cycle of poverty and inequality.”

Both of these World Bank projects support the Government of Argentina´s new Housing and Habitat Plan that aims to improve the current conditions in 280 informal settlements, as well as address the underlying issues--such as lack of access to finance--that have led informal settlements to grow rapidly over the past decade.  

The Integrated Habitat and Housing project will be financed via a variable spread loan of US$200 million, with a 32.5 year maturity period and a seven-year grace period. The Metropolitan Buenos Aires Urban Transformation project will be financed via a fixed spread loan of US$ 170 million to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, with final maturity of 29 years including a grace period of 6 years; and a variable spread loan of US$ 30 million to the Province of Buenos Aires, with a final maturity of 28 years including a grace period of 4 years.

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Media Contacts
In Washington
Marcela Sánchez-Bender
Tel : +1-202-473-5863;
In Buenos Aires
Kelly Alderson
Tel : +(54) 11-43169724