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Latino Daily News

Friday March 4, 2011

Central America & Dominican Republic Secure $2 Billion in Financing for Infrastructure Improvements

Central America and the Dominican Republic is expected to obtain financing for $2 billion in 2011 from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for priority areas such as citizen security, infrastructure, social protection networks, natural disasters and climate change, and public finances, the President of the IDB Luis Alberto Moreno announced today.

The President of Honduras Porfirio Lobo and Moreno inaugurated the 25th Meeting of Governors of the Central American isthmus and Dominican Republic. Ministers of finance and central bank presidents of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Panama attended the meeting.

“As a region we need to advance in the integration processes, developing new mechanisms that will allow us to make our integration ideals a reality,” Lobo said. “It is of vital importance to bring down crime and violence in an integrated and regional way, allowing us to attract long term investments to the region.”

The main items in the Governors’ meeting agenda are regional integration in issues such as citizen security, climate change and natural disasters, as well as strengthening public finance and containing inflationary pressures.

“The challenge [of insecurity] must be dealt with from a regional perspective, that allows us to optimize the available resources, focus our efforts and obtain the maximum impact at a local level,” Moreno said.

“This year we will maintain our level of response and commitment with the region,” he said. The $2 billion is to help the region cope with priorities in infrastructure – mainly roads and energy—, social protection networks – with an emphasis on health, education and housing services—, natural disasters and climate change, public finances and citizen security, Moreno said.

In 2010 the IDB approved 43 projects for the region, totaling $2.1 billion. Infrastructure, social development and fiscal reform programs were some of the areas that secured funding. This was a 30 percent increase over approvals involving sovereign guarantee operations in 2009.

Honduras received record IDB approvals and disbursements in 2010 for $343 million and $163 million, respectively.