By Alexis R. Milan
The Government of Belize signed an agreement last Tuesday in Belmopan for a US $13.6 million loan to assist the financing of the rehabilitation of the Hummingbird Highway, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (FAED).
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Ghanem Sulaiman Al-Ghenaiman, deputy director general of the Kuwait Fund in the presence of Abdullah Al-Musaibeeh, regional manager for Latin America and Caribbean Countries.
The project aims to meet the increasing demand for the transport of passengers and goods in the Southern region of Belize, promote trade with neighboring communities, and contribute to the economic and social development of the area. It also aims to reduce travel time, vehicle operating and road maintenance costs.
The plan seeks to rehabilitate the Hummingbird Highway for about 87 kilometres, creating a two lane highway, with a width of about seven meters each and shoulders of about 1.5 meters on each side.
The total cost of the project is estimated at about BZ $75 million and the loan from the Kuwait Fund will cover about 36 percent of the cost. The remaining cost will be covered by the Government of Belize. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
The loan was made for a term of 24 years, including a four-year-grace-period. The loan bears interest at the rate of two percent per annum, in addition to 0.5 percent per annum to cover administrative charges and other expenses involved in the implementation of the loan agreement.
According to the FAED, this is the fifth loan extended by the Fund to Belize.