Infrastructure investment has been a key priority for the Dominican government
The country boasts seven international airports, eight seaports for deep draft ships and one of the largest road and highway networks in the region
The DR’s economy has been among the fastest growing in the world over the past few years and its infrastructure is now among the most modern and extensive in the Caribbean region. Covering about 48,000 square kilometers – two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti – the DR has seven international airports, eight seaports capable of hosting deep draft ships, one of the largest road and highway networks in the region proportional to its size, and impressive road infrastructure in both the capital, Santo Domingo, and Santiago, the country’s second city in size and importance, located in the prosperous Cibao region, in the heart of the country.
The private sector has played an important role in the construction and modernization of DR´s infrastructure, while the government has been committed to working hand in hand with companies and local and international institutions to obtain results in the short, medium and long term.
In early 2008, the President inaugurated the first line of the Santo Domingo Metro, 14 kilometers long and constructed to the highest quality standards and based on state-of-the-art technology. The Metro’s beauty and efficiency are on a part with the most modern systems of its kind worldwide.
The Dominican government has issued an international tender for starting a second line for the Metro, to extend service and improve the public transport system in the capital, which has a population of some 2.5 million.
The DR is the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean and Central America, with a tourist influx of four million visitors a year and world-class accommodations including 65,000 hotel rooms in tourist areas including La Romana, Bavaro and Punta Cana in the eastern region, Samana in the north east, Puerto Plata and other northern and northeastern regions and along the Atlantic Coast.
The country’s road infrastructure links the capital with the rest of the country, with a network made up of the Duarte Highway in the north, the Sanchez Highway in the south and a wide, modern highway in the east. Just two years ago, a new road opened linking Santo Domingo with Samana and with main population centers in the northeast. Thanks to that new thoroughfare, the Dominican Republic now boasts one of the best road networks in the Caribbean region.
Another notable addition to the DR’s road system is the Coral Highway, a modern four-lane highway crossing several bridges, on which construction began recently. Some 20,000 vehicles are expected to travel this thoroughfare every day, improving road access between the tourist enclaves of La Romana, Bayahibe, Punta Cana, Bavaro, Cap Cana, Macao and Uvero Alto – where about 60% of the country’s hotel rooms are located.
Over the last few years, the face of the Dominican capital has undergone some striking changes, evolving into a true metropolis, with modern road construction projects that will ease vehicular traffic in the National District as well as in the province of Santo Domingo. A prime example is the construction of the Duarte Corridor, which will consist of six overpasses and road interchange systems that will ease transit for over 800,000 vehicles by linking the Duarte Highway with the Manoguayabo Road and Monumental Avenue, John F. Kennedy Avenue with Núñez de Caceres Avenue and Dr. Fernando A. Defillo Street, 27 de Febrero Avenue with Jose Ortega y Gasset Avenue, and Charles de Gaulle Avenue with the San Isidro Highway.
The DR Government has not only done an excellent job of stimulating the country’s development through the construction of new highways, hydroelectric plants, road interchange systems, and other infrastructure; it has also prioritized repair work on routes that had been neglected for many years and were in such poor condition that they were endangering the public and limiting transportation from one region to another. One example of this is the repair of the Casabito Road, which has eased road access to the city of Constanza in La Vega province. This project has arranging effects on the economy, because the Constanza Valley is the country’s main agricultural region, producing fruit, vegetables and flowers for both the domestic and international markets.
In the area of hydroelectric power generation, there are several dams in the DR, including Tavera, the Jiguey-Aguacate complex, Monción, Hatillo, Sabaneta and Sabana Yegua – all built since 1970 with significant investments in several areas of the country. Together, these dams jointly supply 15% of the country’s electricity needs. In 2009 another modern hydro-electric plant went into service in Pinalito, Constanza and Rio Blanco, in Monseñor Nouel province. Built by Odebrecht, this plant is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the Caribbean region, generating 130 Gwh per year. Two dams are currently being built: Palomino, in the province of San Juan de la Maguana, in the deep-south, is in a late stage of construction and expected to go into service in mid-2011, generating 183.7 GWh/year. A country with energy is a country with a future, and building hydroelectric dams like Pinalito and Palomino helps the DR meet its goal of generating clean energy, protecting the environment and conserving the country’s natural resources.
While the current administration has done an outstanding job of developing the Dominican economy in terms of transportation and energy infrastructure, technology and education have also played an important role in this modernization process. An important symbol of this was the opening of the Santo Domingo Cybernetic Park, which was conceived as an installation aimed at providing the facilities required by the country’s technology sector and thus positioning the Dominican Republic as a country that is suited to man-aging complex technologies. The Santo Domingo Cybernetic Park is emblematic of the DR’s commitment to keep pace with global technological developments.
Despite the global economic and inter-national financial crisis, the Dominican Republic was able to avoid the difficulties that arose from a reduction of international credit and a global trade slump. The DR closed 2009 with an economic growth rate of 3.5% — one of the highest in the hemisphere, according to Dominican Republic Central Bank estimates. And prospects are very positive for the Dominican economy over the next few years. 2010 growth was 7.8%, way above the IMF estimates (5-5.5%), which makes 2011 a year of consolidation for many projects as well as an attractive juncture to embark on new in-vestments, such as the second line of the Santo Domingo subway.
Clearly, the Dominican Republic is a country where progress is the government’s driving force. The country’s success will always be a role model both for the region and the world at large, as long as the DR remains committed to excellence and efficiency. A country where projects are planned and executed in an efficient, cost-effective and up-to-date way and which always endeavors to meet the needs of the population is a country to believe in and a prime place to invest.
Data collected from: CEI-RD, Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, Ministry of Public Works, CDEEE, EGEHID, Metro de Santo Domingo & Ministry of Tourism, DR1.com