WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2017– Nearly 400,000 inhabitants of Northwest Argentina will benefit from improved connectivity and road safety thanks to a new US$ 300 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors.
The Northwestern Road Development Corridor Project will contribute to economic development and regional integration by improving conditions of a strategic road network that will connect that region with the rest of the country, as well as with Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. The financing seeks to reduce logistics costs and road accidents.
"This is one of the most important road projects that we are going to implement in the country, fundamental for the development and growth of provinces in northern Argentina. It will reduce travel time and logistical costs for regional production to reach the ports in Rosario. And it will also save lives given that the route is currently one of the most dangerous single lane roads that we have in Argentina", said Guillermo Dietrich, Argentina’s Minister of Transportation.
Specifically, the project will improve the infrastructure of 93 kilometers of National Roads N°34, N°66 and N°1V66 located in Jujuy Province, which borders Salta Province. These two provinces have higher rates of unmet basic needs than the national average (19 percent in Salta and 15 percent in Jujuy, versus 9 percent nationwide).
"The project goes far beyond an infrastructure work since it will contribute to the area’s development, improving the mobility of more than 400,000 people living in this lagging area, and at the same time will create economic opportunities for local producers,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The project will also contribute to increasing the competitiveness of regional products, such as sugar cane and horticultural products, through improved access to markets. Currently, the average cost of transporting one ton of cargo from the Northwest to the country’s main ports of Rosario and Buenos Aires averages US$ 73 per ton, which is 40 percent higher than from the center of the country.
The project will also help ensure that the increased traffic will be accompanied by a reduction in road accidents by building two lanes in each direction. This will improve road safety in an area that has one of the highest road mortality rates in Argentina.
The project will include three innovative components:
1. Climate change adaptation, thanks to resilient infrastructure to better respond to extreme weather events such as floods.
2. The development of indigenous communities from a gender perspective through the construction of community centers led by women.
3. The protection of biodiversity in road investments with the installation of fauna crossings and reforestation measures.
The project will be financed by a US$ 300 million World Bank variable-spread loan, to be repaid in 31.5 years, with a seven-year grace period.
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