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The Andean Development Corporation (CAF) has approved an operation for US$150mn for the Republic of Colombia to partially finance the Road Infrastructure and Regional Development Programme. The executing body will be the National Road Institute (INVIAS) attached to the ministry of transport.

The CAF financial resources will support Colombia’s initiative to improve its levels of competitiveness and achieve the objectives set out in the National Development Plan, which are to optimise the country’s productive conditions with a view to increasing participation in international markets. Specifically, the financing of the programme will improve physical infrastructure for land transport through two components: maintenance of the main corridors of the primary road network; and paving of secondary and tertiary roads, which is the component to be financed by the CAF loan.

The programme is expected to improve connections with the main trunk roads, bring productive areas closer to the main centers of distribution of goods and services, optimising the costs associated with distribution. These improvements in transport conditions will also have a direct economic impact on reduction of vehicle operating costs, which will increase the competitiveness of the prices of goods and services.

This development will in turn strengthen environmental and social aspects in remote localities by improving transport conditions, resulting in improved road safety, shorter travel time and access to distribution centers at lower cost, which will promote development and raise the quality of life in small localities.

Although execution is in the hands of INVIAS, the agency of the ministry of transport responsible for the national road network, the programme also covers roads that come under subnational governments, so departments and municipalities will participate actively in the execution of the projects and future maintenance work.

During the last few years, Colombia’s secondary and tertiary road system has deteriorated due to the scarcity of resources for road building and maintenance. This process has generated high operating costs for vehicles and longer travel time, which has had an adverse effect on transport conditions for merchandise and passengers. National productivity has been affected since Colombia’s foreign trade moves on only 8,000km of the road network, which is less than 5% of the total.