President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay recently offered his vision for economic development for his country. Speaking at a conference of his Colorado Party (ANR), Cartes said he has a number of projects to advance during the next four years of his mandate. According to the Paraguayan government, the purpose of the Feb. 13 conference was to exchange ideas, offer proposals and put initiatives into effect that will spur the landlocked nation’s economy.
Cartes told his fellow party members that just five months into his term in office, “….we have already made significant gains in benefiting the people and an encouraging view towards achieving one of the goals we have set. I have decided to make a government push towards the real change that Paraguay demands and which requires the cooperation and understanding by everyone.”
According to sources in Paraguay, the national government plans to invest $1.5 billion in bolstering the country’s agriculture and cattle industries. Agriculture Minister Jorge Gattini said, “This initiative is part of a plan to invest $16 million. It will be principally in the area of technological innovation.” Gattini added that there will be investment in irrigation, greenhouse agriculture, shade farming, and soil improvement. Financing is expected to come from international organizations, NGOs, and the Paraguayan treasury.
Gattini estimated that within the next five years, Paraguayan farmers will have 30,000 hectares under irrigation. He also said that he envisions that some 5,000 greenhouses will be built in order to allow year-around production of crops.
Paraguay is investing in basic infrastructure. In 2014, the government expects that Route 8 will be re-paved between the towns of Caazapá and Yuty, for example, while the route between Pilar and Villeta – an important industrial center and border crossing into Argentina – is also scheduled for improvements. In December 2013, Minister Public Works Ramón Jiménez Gaona announced that the government expects to spend $500 million on road improvements, and that expenditures will reach $ 1 million by 2015.
Foreign investors are showing interest in Paraguay’s burgeoning economy and President Cartes promise that the country is open for business. A high-level trade mission from the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry visited him on Feb. 17 and also had meetings with Minister of Commerce and Industry Gustavo Leite, Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga, as well as Jiménez Gaona.