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KINGSTON, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The Jamaican government has decided to use Chinese concessional loans to upgrade the road network on the island, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Thursday.

The arrangement has been finalized with the Export-Import Bank of China (China EximBank), which will provide most of the funds, to construct a road network in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country, the prime minister told a press conference in Jamaica House.

Holness said that the projects will cost 384 million U.S. dollars. The Jamaican government will raise 57 million dollars while the rest will be provided by the China Eximbank as a loan.

Works in the southeastern end of the island will cover construction of a toll-free four-lane highway and renovation of some old roads, Holness said.

For the southwestern section, the prime minister said the toll road Highway 2000 will be extended from May Pen, Clarendon Parish in the south to Mandeville, Manchester Parish in the midwest of the country.

"This plan makes access, gives a better road, reduces cost and still achieves the objectives that we want it to," he said.

The prime minister said the national project to build out the road network is in keeping with the government's philosophy that all public expenditure must make economic sense and utilize a cost-effective strategy of implementation.

Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Niu Qingbao told Xinhua that the Chinese government is committed to providing concessional loans to fund the Caribbean countries' infrastructure and other development projects.

"We hope assistance from China will help Jamaica and other Caribbean countries stick to their development agenda, boost the economic prosperity, and most importantly, benefit all people here," Niu said.


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