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LatinNews Daily - 19 January 2021

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In brief: Colombia announces regional investment plan

* Colombia’s national planning department (DNP) has announced the signing of a Col$4.4trn (US$1.27bn) regional investment plan for the eastern departments of Cesar and La Guajira, on the border with Venezuela. The plan, signed by Colombia’s President Iván Duque and DNP director, Luis Alberto Rodríguez, as well as by officials from the departments in question, aims to “support regional economic recovery, reduce poverty, and improve the competitiveness of the productive sector”. Cesar and La Guajira are among the country’s more deprived departments, with poverty rates in excess of 40%, and are a hub for armed criminal groups and illegal economic activities, a situation widely attributed to underinvestment and a lack of support from the central government. The regional investment plan will facilitate the execution of over 70 “high-impact projects” to improve access to transport, housing, education, health, security, water, and energy, among other priorities. The flagship project is set to be the construction of a Col$1.5trn highway, improving linkages between these departments and the rest of the country.