The current road and highway network in Guatemala is 17,621 km, which divided among 16.86 million inhabitants, gives an average of 1.05 meters of road infrastructure per person; figures that place the country in 200th place worldwide and below other Central American countries such as Panama and Costa Rica, which have 4 and 8 meters of highway per inhabitant, respectively.
The challenge for Guatemala is to reach at least 3.1 meters per person, equivalent to 47,500 new kilometers of roads and highways. In addition, provide maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, patching, among other repairs to 83% of the current road network, in order to be at the level of the most competitive countries in Central America.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the current economic conditions in the world make it difficult for Guatemala to develop the road infrastructure it needs, since the government is allocating a large amount of resources to address the health crisis. In this context, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are an alternative to develop quality road projects.
Through PPPs, private sector investment is encouraged, which is responsible for planning, developing, executing and managing quality public infrastructure projects; allowing the government to have a greater margin for managing its resources, which it can allocate, for example, to strengthening the health sector to provide attention to the pandemic.
Guatemala has a privileged geographical position with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the country borders the north of the continent and is the entrance to Central America by the south. Thanks to these conditions, the improvement of its highway network can be a factor that promotes its sustainable development and positions it as a key country in logistics in Central America.
In this way, even in the midst of a global crisis, Guatemala can build new quality roads and highways and improve existing ones. With this, there would be positive impacts on the reduction of poverty with the creation of new direct and indirect jobs; combat hunger, facilitating the national food trade, as well as the operation of national supply chains; improvement of the mobility of people and connectivity between the different regions of the country.