Panama has secured a US$250mn Miga-backed loan from three international banks to construct a metro system as a solution to the city’s urban transportation issues.

Citibank is acting as the joint global coordinator along with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, while Mizuho Corporate Bank is serving as the lead arranger on the deal.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) is providing a US$320mn guarantee on the loan, which marks the bank’s first coverage of a non-honouring of sovereign financial obligations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Line 1 metro project in Panama City will reduce travel times, vehicle operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while helping people living in suburban regions access jobs and educational services in the city.

“The Panama metro is one element in a series of investments aimed at cementing Panama’s position as a services hub in the Latin American region,” says Panama’s minister of economy and finance Frank de Lima.

Brazil-based Construtora Norberto Odebrecht is the majority owner of the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Line 1 metro – an enterprise jointly owned by Spanish construction firms Odebrecht and Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas.