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Puebla Panama agreement due to be inked mid-April -

>Puebla Panama agreement due to be inked mid-April - Central America,Mexico
>Wednesday, March 27, 2002 12:19 (GMT-0300) Mexico and the seven countries 
>of Central America are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding 
>mid-April for the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) road integration project, said 
>PPP director Constantino Urcuyo.
>Once each country's PPP commission signs the agreement, and it receives 
>the respective presidential endorsements, funding from the Inter-American 
>Development Bank (IDB) would become available immediately, he told BNamericas.
>The memorandum covers the legal, institutional and regulatory and 
>operational framework for the PPP's execution.
>The three-part plan includes 3,000km of feeder roads, of which 2,000km 
>would be upgraded, requiring some US$2bn. Of that amount US$155mn is 
>already in place, with US$622mn to come from the private sector, US$312mn
>>from the countries' own resources and the rest from multilateral agencies
>such as US$200mn from the IDB.
>Urcuyo said interest has also come from the Central American Bank for 
>Economic Integration, the World Bank, Japan Bank for International 
>Cooperation and the Andean Development Corporation.
>The other two components of the plan are the Pacific and Atlantic 
>integration corridors, the former linking Central America with southern 
>Mexico and the latter connecting Caribbean coastal areas.
>All three components comprise a total of 8,000km of roads, including 
>5,000km of upgrades, at a cost of US$3.66bn. Of that US$270mn is already 
>in place, with the private sector estimated to put up US$868mn, the IDB 
>US$700mn and local sources the remainder.
>The plan is designed to overcome the region's vulnerability to natural 
>disasters and bridge a long-standing infrastructure deficit that impedes 
>these countries' ability to profit from their proximity to large foreign 
>PPP was born from the Central America Logistical Corridor report carried 
>out by Harvard University over a five-year period, which also covers ports 
>and airports. However Urcuyo explained that the PPP commissioners decided 
>on an autonomous road integration plan rather risk being caught up in 
>complications involved with trade unions in the case of ports and existing 
>private sector initiatives in the case of airports.
>He agreed the 2002-2006 implementation schedule may seem optimistic 
>considering the scope of the works program, "but if you say eight years it 
>will take 10."
>By James Attwood
>Monti Aguirre
>Latin American Campaigns
>International Rivers Network

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