Tender for the metropolitan train from Kennedy to Charles de Gaulle

President Luis Abinader announced that next July the bidding process will be launched in a public-private partnership for the new National Railway System, starting in its first stage the Metropolitan Train of Greater Santo Domingo, which will run from the Kennedy and Máximo Gómez Metro stations to the Charles de Gaulle in a first stretch, and then in an extension to the International Airport of Las Américas.

The President informed that the start of the works of this transcendental project is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

“We want to connect all the poles of the country and generate new ones. We are creating a new geography of opportunities for all Dominicans, from Pedernales to Miches, standing in the heart of the island, to turn Santiago into a modern metropolis and connect it in half an hour with the Bergantín project in Puerto Plata and the industrial, logistical and energy development of Manzanillo”, he said.

Likewise, President Abinader highlighted that Foreign Direct Investment, increased by more than 25.5% over the previous year, reaching an unprecedented figure in the Dominican Republic of more than 4 billion dollars.

“And it should also be noted that the United States of America is, as of today, our main partner in terms of Foreign Direct Investment, with the attraction of 8,458 million dollars from 2010 to June 2022,” said the governor.

Speaking as guest speaker at the Bussines Future of Americas (BFA) Conference and the centennial celebration of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic (AMCHAMDR), Abinader affirmed that the economic growth experienced by the country has been achieved with great effort; proposing and executing actions that have led to achieve undeniable numbers.

He cited as an example of these, those reflected in 2022, when the country’s Gross Domestic Product reached a remarkable annual growth of 4.9%, higher than the Latin American average.

“We are one of the countries in the region with greater economic stability, which places us in the target inflation target range, which is marked at 4% +-1. As of May of this year, annualized inflation is at 4.43%, that is, within the target range established by the monetary authorities,” he said.

He stated that this places the Dominican Republic among the countries with the highest economic growth in the world in 2022 and consolidates the economy as one of the most dynamic in Latin America.

He also pointed out that last year the country closed with the highest level of international foreign exchange reserves in history, with 14,436 million dollars and a 2% appreciation of the currency according to data from the Central Bank.

He revealed that, for the first time, more than 7 million tourists arrived to the Dominican Republic by air and 1.3 million cruise passengers; that is, 8.5 million visitors, 13% more than in the period prior to the pandemic.

“All this demonstrates the great confidence of foreign investors in our economy,” said Abinader.

American Chamber of Commerce in the DR is a great ally

The president said that the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic has always been a great ally for our nation, since it has been able to add value to the relations between both nations, betting on national production, foreign investment and the promotion of exports of our products; which, undoubtedly, has contributed greatly to the positioning of the country in the world.

He also said that Business Future of the Americas also represents a great opportunity to establish contacts and strengthen ties with public and private leadership throughout the hemisphere.

This is undoubtedly one of its great strengths. The DR enjoys a more robust regulatory framework.

Referring to governance issues, the Head of State indicated that the Dominican Republic enjoys a more robust regulatory framework, which has been strengthened to provide greater legal certainty and reduce bureaucracy, such as the creation of the Single Window for Investment.

In addition, he explained, by decree, we articulated the Investment Promotion Cabinet, integrated by the strategic institutions that have greater incidence in the promotion and attraction of investments.

“If we talk about the Industry sector, we can agree that it plays a fundamental role in all the processes that take place for the modernization and development of the countries. And the Dominican Republic is no exception,” he said.

In that sense, he considered that the free zones constitute one of the productive activities with the greatest impact in terms of employment in the country, contributing more than 192,000 direct jobs in the last year and showing a growth in exports of 9% at the beginning of this 2023.

“The economic, political and social stability of our country has made local and foreign investors place their trust and decide to invest in the Dominican Republic. And this is true development”, he affirmed.

The governor pointed out that it is not by chance that the Dominican Republic is located in the 80th position of the world ranking in the Human Development category, out of a list of 191 countries, and that in recent years it is one of the few nations in the world that have climbed positions.

“This is due to the efforts of the Government to make the life of Dominicans more dignified, together with the balance of providing space for national and foreign investment for production, manufacturing and tourism, thus generating an important movement of human capital and quality jobs for citizens,” he said.

He emphasized that investors attest to the special characteristics that make the country an attractive destination and one of them is, without a doubt, its privileged geographic location.

“Our connectivity is such that we have the most connected airport in the Caribbean, as well as a port infrastructure that places us in third place for the best maritime connectivity in the entire region,” he said.

Roads that bring the metropolitan region closer together

President Abinader emphasized that in the south of the country, linked to the Pedernales development project, they have invested in important roads that have brought this area closer to the metropolitan region, with projects such as the Azua bypass, already completed, and the Baní bypass, under construction, in addition to the Enriquillo-Pedernales highway.

In connection with the port of Manzanillo, whose work will begin in July of this year, he said, the Government has carried out important connectivity works for the entire region, as is the case of the inauguration of the Montecristi-Copey-Dajabón highway, and the Guayubín-Mata de Santa Cruz-Copey and Santiago Rodríguez – Martín García-Guayubín roads are being completed.

In addition to this, he said, they will also connect the two most important ports of the country: the multimodal Caucedo with that of Haina Oriental, through the extension of the Ecological Avenue.

“And fulfilling the commitment we made, last month, we kicked off the competitive process for the construction of the Amber Highway.

This modern 32-kilometer highway will connect Santiago and Puerto Plata in less than 30 minutes, and will include, in a single circuit, the Amber Highway with the Autovía Circunvalación Norte de Santiago and with the Punta Bergantín tourism real estate development project in Puerto Plata,” he informed.

In addition, he said, we are in the midst of a project to widen and modernize the Duarte Highway, replacing irregular intersections with safer operational turns, as well as integration and incorporation lanes at the various intersections, milling, asphalting, lighting and proper signaling along its entire length, to improve its road safety indexes.

The head of state said that, in this highway they are also rebuilding more than 400 kilometers of its entire transverse and longitudinal drainage system.

“But this Government has also made an enormous effort in the expansion of our mass transportation network, with works as important as the Los Alcarrizos Cable Car already in operation, or the Santiago Cable Car and monorail which are under construction or Line 2-C of the Metro, from Los Alcarrizos to Kilometer 9″, he guaranteed.

When I spoke about the Pedernales-Cabo Rojo Development Plan, there were doubts,” he said.

When I spoke of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, which includes the development of the Los Alcarrizos Cable Car, the Monorail and the Santiago Cable Car, as well as the extension of Line 2C of the Santo Domingo Metro, it was also thought to be too ambitious to be achieved in record time,” he said.

However, he said, today they can see that the Cable Car of Los Alcarrizos is already in operation and that the other projects have a very satisfactory level of progress.

The President pointed out that, aware that all countries are immersed in an accelerated digital transformation race, immediately after his government took office, the Digital Transformation Cabinet was created, with the responsibility of preparing the Digital Agenda 2030.

“We were very clear that it was impossible to achieve a solid country strategy without the support and participation of the private sector. That is why we permanently established the digital transformation working table between the Dominican Government and the American Chamber of Commerce and its ICT Committee,” he explained.

In particular, he said, with the support of AMCHAMDR, we have helped with our Agenda to improve our government service, firstly by increasing transparency, facilitating communication channels and attention to citizens and promoting public innovation.

Results to show

He assured that an evidence of the collaborative work between the public and private sector, is that they have many results to show, such as the Digital Agenda of the Dominican Republic conquered the first place in the 2022 awards of the World Summit of the Information Society and according to the Global Cybersecurity Index 2021 published by the ITU, the country is now ranked #66 in the world, advancing 26 positions in a single year.

Likewise, he referred that, the National Cyber Security Index of the Governance Academy of Estonia, reported in January of this year an advance of 30 positions of our country, going from 58th to 28th place, and being today Dominican Republic number 1 in Latin America in terms of level of preparation to prevent and manage cyber incidents, according to that study.

Digital television transmission will soon beginAlso, he stressed, the awarding of radio spectrum frequencies to provide 5G telephony service has already begun, which has already begun to be offered by telecommunications companies in the country, and soon will begin the transmission of digital television, long delayed and which will finally become a reality in this government administration and will bring broadband connectivity to 90 communities that currently do not have coverage.

“Therefore, I encourage you to continue implementing together the Digital Agenda 2030, because this will result in achieving a more competitive, fairer, more equitable, more inclusive nation, where the population takes advantage of new technologies to improve their quality of life, the State is focused on citizens and organizations do the same to improve their productivity and competitiveness,” said the governor.

At present, he affirmed, they are preparing a future-proof Dominican Republic and maintained that the country is a paradise full of opportunities for commerce, business, tourism and for life itself.

“During this administration, we will be delivering to our citizens and businesses, new solutions that will positively impact them, such as the expansion of services in the Single Portal “Gob.do’, thanks to the Zero Bureaucracy Program, the Single Educational Record, the Single Health Record,” Abinader revealed.

Likewise, he added, the Citizen Folder and the Single Notification Platform, because our Digital Agenda will not only increase the productivity of companies, but is aimed at improving services to all citizens.

President Abinader stressed that for several years the Dominican Republic has achieved a much more leading role among the countries of the region; thanks, among other things, to the stability and good health enjoyed by our political and democratic system, economic growth and the strength of the country in terms of investment and business opportunities.

Major structural transformations

He assured that since his arrival to the Government, we set to work to achieve the structural transformations that the country needs to continue moving forward, without resting for a single moment in addressing the difficulties that have come our way in the form of crises.

“And I can say with all certainty that we are achieving it.”

He recalled that the Dominican Republic was recognized worldwide for its successful handling of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic and also for the macroeconomic, political stability and social peace that we have been building together.

Therefore, he affirmed, “our level of resilience is more than demonstrated”.

He said that the determination of the Dominican Government to leave no one behind is shown in all the actions it has deployed at all levels, in order to protect the business network, which is the generator of job opportunities that the citizens of the country need to continue building their life projects.

All this, he added, has allowed the Dominican Republic to be the only country in the region to improve its risk rating in three international agencies that measure this indicator, such as: Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, with important benefits for the financial future of the nation, both by reducing the cost of future financing, as well as for attracting investment.

“In addition, we are on our way to becoming a world-class logistics HUB, by taking advantage of our privileged geographical position in the Caribbean, which makes us a strategic point for international trade, connecting with the rest of the world,” he stressed.

Abinader indicated that, these objectives will be achieved through investment in connectivity infrastructure; the implementation of improvements in customs management, with the capacity to clear goods in less than 24 hours and the promotion of exports.

Especially, he said, those arising from the agricultural sector, manufacturing and free trade zones, where we are taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the reordering of international trade and the aforementioned “nearshoring”.

The country urgently needed, he insisted, structural changes and we set out to ensure that they were made.

“It is appropriate this meeting space provided by the BFA 2023 and the celebration of 100 years of life of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic, to demonstrate our interest in continuing to deepen the relationships that we have maintained with such good results for so many years,” he said.

He reaffirmed his commitment to the Dominican people to continue advancing in the construction of the country we want.

“We invite local and foreign investors to continue to place their trust in our country. The best Dominican Republic is yet to come, and we are building it together,” the governor exalted.

He expressed his gratitude to all the businessmen and government representatives present and for making this meeting possible and to the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic for keeping alive this spirit of work, its vision of the future and commitment to the country.

DR has emerged as a leader of change

Meanwhile, the president of AMCHAMDR, Edwin De los Santos, said that the Dominican Republic has emerged as a leader of change with accurate internal policies that ensure that the country has a direction directed towards sustainable productivity.

“Through constant efforts President Abinader has shown a singular sense of collaborative work between the private and public sectors to encourage the development of small and medium enterprises, as well as to attract large investments,” he said.

De los Santos added that AMCHAM has been a participatory witness to the many initiatives promoted under his leadership and the various ministries within his government to integrate a collaborative dialogue that will propel the nation to the next level of development.

“President Luis Abinader and his dynamic work team are blazing the trail with exemplary initiatives such as the Alliance for Development in Democracy and the ADD+USA Business Council, of which AMCHAM is also a part,” he said.

He thanked President Abinader on behalf of AMCHAM and all the American chambers of commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean for his support and commitment to the private sector and said that his leadership has laid the groundwork for fruitful collaboration and has opened the doors to new opportunities for trade and investment in the region.

The president was accompanied by the first lady Raquel Arbaje; his daughter, Adriana Abinader; the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco; the ministers of the Presidency, Joel Santos; of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez; of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes, Víctor -Ito- Bisonó; of Finance, José Manuel Vicente; of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte; of Public Works, Deligne Ascención.

Also, the director of ProDominicana, Biviana Riveiro; the general managers of Banco de Reservas, Samuel Pereyra; of Banco Agrícola, Fernando Durán; the general directors of Customs, Eduardo Sanz Lovatón; of SENASA, Santiago Hazim; of CAASD, Felipe Suberví and the deputy administrative minister of the Presidency, Igor Rodríguez.

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