Since taking office on May 24, President Lenín Moreno of the Alianza PAIS movement has been more conciliatory towards the private sector than his his predecessor and party colleague Rafael Correa. In particular, he has taken steps to promote participation in the maintenance and development of transport infrastructure.
The needs are considerable. The Strategic Mobility Plan (PEM), drafted and published by the Correa administration late last year, puts the amount needed to reduce the shortfall in transportation infrastructure and increase the country's logistics competitiveness at some US$118 billion over the next 25 years.
In the last decade, transport infrastructure works were carried out mainly through public investment, but a lack of resources has forced the government to tighten the reins.
Ecuador's GDP fell by around 1.5% in 2016, due to the decline in oil prices and the consequent reduction in revenues. The country also suffered the effects of a devastating earthquake in April last year. Both factors led the previous government to resort to external and internal debt.
Since then, Ecuador has sought to attract private investors to the infrastructure sector, beginning with the award in 2016 and this year of billions of dollars in contracts to modernize ports.
The formula used has been public-private partnerships (PPPs), a model that has little track record in terms of a legal and institutional framework but one that is expected to be used more widely in 2017 in a major plan to develop the country's road network.
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