IFC backs Argentina with $150m in transport financing

The debt package for Cordoba comes eight months after the government passed a new PPP law aimed at attracting investors.

The International Finance Corporation is backing transportation infrastructure in Argentina’s Cordoba province with a $150 million package aimed at reducing congestion and improving urban connectivity.

The financing, which will back the construction of 17km of new roadway, underpasses and bridges, will come from an eight-year $100 million IFC loan and a $50 million facility provided by Spain’s Santander. The IFC will also offer advisory services to develop technical studies for transportation, water treatment, sanitation and street lighting. Irene Arias, IFC director for Latin America, called the package “the first step of the IFC’s strategic engagement” with the province.

The plan will also support the construction of an accelerated entryway from the ring road surrounding the province’s capital, also called Cordoba, to the centre of the city.

With around 3.5 million people, Cordoba is Argentina’s second-largest centre by population after Buenos Aires. Last month the IFC announced a $50 million loan to the Argentine capital, supporting a $400 million plan aimed at cutting commuter time and reducing carbon emissions. Both financing plans come under the IFC’s Cities Initiative, aimed at boosting urban centres in part by improving critical infrastructure and expanding access to financing.

Argentina has looked increasingly to attract private sector financing since President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015. Last November, the government passed a PPP law increasing clarity and transparency for private investors. Argentina’s $33 billion three-year transportation plan calls for 2,800km of new roads to be added.