IDB road loan helps boost Suriname trade

By Richard High04 December 2008

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is to loan Suriname US$ 62.5 million in an effort to boost cross border trade with French Guyana.

The loan will be used to finance rehabilitation and improvement work along the Meerzog - Albina road, one of the country's busiest trade and transport corridors.

The loan will fund repaving sections of the 140-kilometer road, which links the capital city of Paramaribo with the eastern border with French Guyana and has undergone little maintenance since its construction in the 1960s.

The program will also widen the road, refurbish seven of its 14 bridges, upgrade the existing 60 culverts, and improve urban crossings and roadside amenities such as pedestrian sidewalks, bus stops and parking areas to increase safety.

According to a statement on its website, the IDB said the project aims to improve access to important productive areas and health and educational services for the population, facilitate tourism and regional integration. In addition, the investment will reduce travel time and operating costs and increase safety for pedestrians and vehicles using the road, which accounts for 23% of the country's total traffic flow.

This project was prepared in coordination with the European Commission and the French Development Agency, including joint missions and parallel financing of preliminary studies. The joint work of the three international donors was led by the Bank.

The IDB loans will finance 49% of the total cost of the project while the government of Suriname will fund the remaining 51%.

Part of the IDB loans will come from the bank's ordinary capital, with maturity periods of 25 and 30 years and grace periods of five and six years. Another part will come from the bank's Fund for Special Operations.

The Bank's funding will be complemented by three additional resources: a loan from the French Development Agency, a grant from the European Commission and a grant from the Government of The Netherlands.

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