The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has approved a US$40mn soft loan to finance a roads project in northwestern Nicaragua, including works for the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP).

The infrastructure ministry will carry out the project, with assistance from the roads maintenance fund. Works will include maintaining and repaving a road network in Chinandega department and the access road to Corinto port.

Some 90km of paved roads will be improved, 70km of dirt roads will be paved, and 292km of the network will be routinely maintained to extend the useful life of roadways and cut transport costs.

Works will be co-financed by the Nordic Development Fund, providing a €12mn (US$13.6mn) loan.

The PPP is a joint effort by Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama for sustainable development in the region. One of its programmes is the establishment of a 9,000km network of highways to improve overland connections.

The project is also part of a national roads programme to boost competitiveness.

The IADB loan is for 40 years, with a 10-year grace period.