Govt requests US$200mn World Bank loan for Norte Grande water program

Friday, February 4, 2011

Argentina's government is requesting a US$200mn loan from the World Bank to increase sustainable access to sanitation and water supply services in the Norte Grande region by investing in infrastructure and institutional development.

The Norte Grande project will address infrastructure gaps as well as sustainability issues in order to improve performance in the area's water supply and sanitation sector, according to World Bank project documents.

Of the proposed funding, US$143mn will be used for water supply and sanitation infrastructure such as wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations, main collectors and secondary sewerage networks. Another US$15mn will be allocated for institutional development and technical assistance, while US$15mn will go towards project management and supervision.

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The bank's board is expected to make a decision on the request by March 11. If the financing is approved, the Argentine government will provide US$40mn in counterpart funds.

The new funds will complement the first Norte Grande infrastructure program, approved by the World Bank in December last year, which aims to address priority gaps in water supply and urban drainage provision.

The program is part of the government's strategy to combat poverty and inequality through infrastructure investments. The program has already received US$2.5bn from IDB, which covered sanitation, transport, energy and competitiveness.

Argentina's Norte Grande includes Catamarca, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Tucumán, Salta and Santiago del Estero provinces. The area covers one third of the national territory, with a population of some 7.5mn.