La Paz (Bolivia), April 11 (IANS) Bolivian President Evo Morales has issued a decree declaring the upcoming 2014 Dakar Rally, whose competitors will race through parts of the country, a "national priority".
The decree, approved by his cabinet, clears the way for Morales to speed up infrastructure work along the route, including connecting the town of Uyuni, in southwest Potosi department (state), to the national power grid to ensure there's electricity when the rugged off-road race reaches the area, Xinhua reports.
"We declare to be a priority of national interest the 2014 Dakar (Rally) global sporting competition, which will traverse Bolivia," said Morales.
Morales explained the decree allowed the government to invest some $1.5 million on the power project in Uyuni, and another substantial amount to supply potable water.
The government has additionally instructed the Ministry of Public Works to furnish the remote Andean region with 4G mobile telephone technology, through the National Telecommunications Company, to guarantee communication services.
The 2014 edition of the rally route will for the first time include Bolivia, though only for two of the four racing categories, motorcycles and quads. Cars and trucks will take an alternate route, rally organisers have said.
The race will begin Jan 5 in the Argentinean city of Rosario, wend through Bolivia, and conclude in Valparaiso, Chile.
Bolivia will host two days of the race, Sunday Jan 13 and Monday Jan 13.