The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has allocated a $300m loan to fund the expansion, refurbishment and improvement of roads in Argentina’s Norte Grande region.

Accessibility, efficiency and safety on priority corridors of the national road network will be boosted under the programme, in addition to improving feeder roads in the provincial road network.

The Norte Grande region connects major production areas with local and foreign markets. The upgrades would reduce the number of road accident deaths, as well as cut travel times and vehicle operations costs.

IDB project team leader Fernando Orduz said: "With this operation, the IDB continues to support Argentina’s efforts to close the development gap between the Norte Grande region and the rest of the country."

Priority roads in Norte Grande region’s provinces will be improved; these include Catamarca, Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones and Santiago del Estero, accounting for one third of the Argentine mainland.

The second operation of the programme aims to expand activities to Norte Grande provinces that were not covered by the Norte Grande road infrastructure plan, for which IDB approved a $1.2bn IDB loan in February 2007.

The $300m IDB loan is for a 25-year term, with a five-year grace period and local counterpart financing will contribute $33.5m to the project.

Last November, the IDB approved a $200m loan to finance the upgrading of priority roads in Argentina’s provincial roads network and their links to the national road network.

Under the Productive Road Infrastructure Programme II, the credit line’s purpose was to finance road infrastructure in the provinces of Mendoza, Buenos Aires, San Juan and Entre Rios, among others.

The first operation, worth $120m, was signed in March 2010 and it is financing the Productive Road Infrastructure Programme I.