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Argentina to implement urban integration, social and educational inclusion programs in Buenos Aires City with IDB assistance

More than 150,000 people will benefit from climate change resilient urban infrastructure and from spaces fit for living and working in the Barrio 31 settlement as well as from a more equitable education system in Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires City’s living, social and educational inclusion conditions will improve with a $250 million credit line for investment projects and with a $100 million initial individual loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 

The project will boost living standards for 43,000 residents of Barrio 31, increasing both children and adults access to education with three new schools for 1,100 students, improving living and work spaces in 550 structures, and deploying climate change resilient urban infrastructure that will increase soil permeability and control buildings’ temperature. Of the total operation’s resources, 64.5 percent will be earmarked for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. 

The program will also finance plans to move the Buenos Aires Education Ministry to the area, creating a new activity hub that will help integrate it with the rest of the city with the construction of a 30,000-square-meter green building certified by the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) system. 

Through the Education Ministry, the project will also foster new teaching methods, including digital learning platforms and technology, benefiting 100,000 students and 18,000 teachers and bringing state-of-the-art equipment, furniture and information technology labs to schools. In addition, it will strengthen evaluation and education management processes and systems and help design and implement policies to identify those students with the most needs. 

“What makes this program different is that it sees education as a key driver for development and for urban and social integration of the Buenos Aires City,” said Francisca Rojas and Andrea Bergamaschi, IDB’s co-project team leaders. “The planned investments will boost up economic development of Barrio 31 through its Education Hub. They will also enhance access to technology and to education management throughout the city. In addition, 18,000 square meters of green public spaces will be added, providing meeting and recreational areas and improving home and business habitability and overall rising residents’ life quality.” 

Despite its high development and habitability indices, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires also features some social and urban benefit access inequalities. Just like in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, these inequalities affect access to quality public services such as education and also include deficient living standards, particularly for those living in informal settlements. 

Some 200,000 people, or about 6 percent of the Buenos Aires population, live in 15 slums. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires also has one of the most unequal education systems, with the most vulnerable students four to seven times more likely to score poorly in PISA tests compared with the OECD nations average (PISA, 2015). 

The $250 million credit line for investment projects and the initial $100 million individual loan both have a 25-year term, with a 5.5-year grace period and a LIBOR-based interest rate. They will receive $62.5 million and $25 million in local counterpart funds, respectively. The executing agency will be the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires through its Finance Ministry, in conjunction with the Social and Urban Integration Secretariat and the Education Ministry.

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The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.