Infrastructure and integration investments totalling 13.7 billion dollars in the next ten years to 2022 were announced by the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) infrastructure chapter this week in Brasilia.
“This represents a solid pace in the integration process” and will be presented to the heads of state of Unasur member countries during this week’s summit in Venezuela, advanced Unasur Secretary General Maria Emma Mejía.
The 13.7bn will be distributed among 31 projects considered a ‘priority’ by the South American Council on Infrastructure and Planning, Cosiplan, which met at the Brazilian capital to analyze plans for the 2012/2022 period.
According to Brazilian Planning minister Miriam Belchior, Cosiplan is directed basically to support the list of projects belonging to the South American regional Integration Infrastructure Initiative, IIRSA, which was originally created in Brasilia in 2000.
IIRSA has investment projects totalling 116 billion dollars of which in the last twelve years only 12% have been concluded while 30% is currently under construction and another 305 in ‘advanced preparation’, said the Brazilian minister Belchior.
The 31 works chosen as priority by Cosiplan belong to projects from IIRSA and are mainly highways, bridges, railways and fluvial access. It also includes a high power line linking the Paraguayan capital Asuncion with the mega-dam Itaipu and a gas pipeline between Bolivia and the north of Argentina, the only two energy projects approved for the next ten years.
Besides the major 31 trans-national projects,Belchior revealed that there are another 80 national projects with an ‘integration purpose’ in process of development or planned that should also contribute to the regional infrastructure in the 2012/2022 period.
Belchior said that in spite of global turbulence, South America retains high rates of growth which enable the region to ‘make its integration homework’ and address new projects. However financing remains one of the obstacles since so far only regional multilateral organizations have contributed: the Andean Promotion Corporation, CAF; the Inter American Development bank and Brazil’s National economic and social development bank, BNDES.