The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and Bolivia have signed documents for a US$33.15mn IADB loan for a programme to improve the Northern Corridor Highway in Bolivia and to promote economic development in the country’s northern region and its integration with the rest of the country.


The parties have also signed a letter of intent to carry out the “Program to Implement the External Pillar of the Medium-Term Action Plan for Development Effectiveness “(Prodev). The IADB offers participating countries technical assistance grants to help establish and carry out an action plan that will improve the performance of development projects and programmes.


The Northern Corridor Highway programme is considered one of the key projects of the Peru-Brazil-Bolivia hub of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA).


Road improvement works will take place in the southern most segment of the highway connecting Rio Branco in Brazil with La Paz in accordance with Bolivia’s 2000 Transport Master Plan.


The programme will reduce the frequency of road closures and shorten travel times on the La Paz-Santa Barbara segment, and it will reduce the number of accidents. It will also reduce vehicle operating costs by guaranteeing permanent transit on the new road and its maintenance.


Countries in the IIRSA group include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The IADB supports this regional integration initiative together with the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Fondo Financiero para el Desarrollo de la Cuenca del Plata.


In addition to this operation, the IADB is conducting a strategic environmental assessment for the entire Northern Corridor with resources from the Japan Special Fund and the Fund for Special Operations. This study will provide strategic guidelines for development of the northern part of Bolivia and will identify priority investments needed to support the integration process.