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Paraguay plans to carry out 33 priority road projects, totaling US$2.44bn, with the aim of having 8,000km of the national road network paved in the next 10 years, a spokesperson from the public works and communications ministry (MOPC) told BNamericas.
The projects fall within MOPC's strategic road investment plan for 2013-18, which aims to improve internal connectivity as well as prioritize the development of roads that connect with neighboring countries.
In addition, MOPC aims to increase the involvement of the private sector through concessions or public-private partnerships, according to the spokesperson.
Among the 33 priority road projects is the US$282mn, 147km Natalio-Presidente Franco highway, which might be partially funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency JICA, in addition to the US$180mn expansion of routes 2 and 7 and the US$48.6mn Vaquería-Curuguaty highway.
The need to focus on paving Paraguay's roads is urgent as currently only 15.2% of the country's road network is paved, according to the latest figures from Latin American development bank CAF.
"The road network is insufficient compared to the size of the country. Accessibility indicators with regards to paved or improved roads are low compared to other countries in the region," according to MOPC."For a Mediterranean country like ours facilitating the exit of exportation products to improve our competitiveness is a priority."