Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Dominican Port for Prosperity. (!Ojo!)

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Dominican Port for Prosperity. (!Ojo!)

Article excerpt

GOVERNMENT APPROVAL has been given to the Dominican Republic's biggest-ever infrastructure project, comprising a new port and free trade zone, an international airport, fifteen hundred houses, a hotel, and a marina.

A consortium of French, U.S., and United Arab Emirates firms plans to invest over $1.8 billion in the development in Manzanillo Bay, nearly two hundred miles from Santo Domingo and near the Haitian border. It is expected to create thousands of jobs. Overall, some $4.29 billion in public and private funds is to be invested in infrastructure in the next few years. The investment, equivalent to 35 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), will be pumped into highways, dams, housing, power generation, hotels, ports, and hospitals.

Luis Lajara, president of the Trans-Dominican Development consortium, says: "The project will have a national impact and then a regional impact in the Caribbean. Then, as with any project of this magnitude in today's globalized world, it will have a global impact."

The consortium comprises Groupe Balguerie of France, Nesebe-Emirat of the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. operators Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival. Groupe Balguerie already has a contract to operate the port and another has been signed with shipping firm CMA-CGM, which will double the Dominican Republic's container-handling capacity.

Two towns, Cristi and Dajabon, are to benefit from a new waste-recycling plant, power station, and roads. "We envisage this zone as a connecting point with Haiti," adds Lajara. …

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