The Andean Development Corporation (CAF) has approved a US$145mn loan for Colombia to improve transport infrastructure along the Bogota-Buenaventura Road Corridor, specifically in the final section from Buga to Buenaventura port. The work will be executed by the National Road Institute (Invias).


As Enrique Garca CAF president and CEO, explains: “This is the second loan that CAF has granted for this important project, having previously approved US$25mn.”


He adds that this type of operation goes much further than the infrastructure aspect. “The contribution has an important social component considering that this area is one of the most depressed in the country. In addition to the financial resources, the corporation is working through its Social Responsibility Programs to provide labour training and education in values for 2,000 excluded young people in Buenaventura, one of the cities with the highest crime rates in the country.”


The programme is executed in coordination with Sena, Swiss and Belgian cooperation, regional government, the Sociedad Portuaria, Cartin de Colombia and the Youth Service Foundation.


The project, with a total cost of US$468mn, consists of execution of works to upgrade and extend the Buga-Buenaventura Highway, including engineering to convert to a divided highway in order to unify the technical characteristics of the road, reduce the slope, and expand vehicle capacity. These improvements should increase speed, and enhance the safety and reliability of the transport that uses the route.


The Bogota-Buenaventura Road Corridor is considered the most important route for Colombian physical integration since it carries over 40% of the country’s exports through the Pacific Ocean; 35% of the country’s population live in the area and it has the nation’s highest GDP growth.


CAF has participated in financing the public and private sectors for execution of upgrading works in various sectors of the route, such as the La Lnea tunnel and the Buga-La Paila Concession. CAF has also granted technical assistance for pre-investment studies and the Port Services Upgrading Program.


Given the expected impact on the efficiency of transport from the main productive centres of Bogota, Medellin and Cali to the port of Buenaventura, the project has been included in the National Development Plan 2006-10 and in the Colombian Internal Agenda for Improving Productivity and Competitiveness.


Internationally, the corridor, specifically the Buga-Buenaventura section, has also been included in the projects that form the integration and development hubs identified by the South American Regional Integration Initiative (IIRSA) in agreements signed by the 12 countries of South America.