Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic senior officials met in Madrid to review progress on the Almaty-Bishkek Corridor Initiative (ABCI).
The third joint working group meeting (JWG3) comprised the formal working group meeting on 19-20 October followed by a workshop on 21-22 October for JWG members on urban transformation, which included a one-day site visit to Bilbao.
Recognizing the strategic importance of the tourism sector to the ABCI, the JWG3 was co-hosted by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The subsequent workshop for the JWG was organized in partnership with the Fundacion Metropoli, a leading organization working on urban development and transformation of cities.
Pradeep Srivastava, principal economist, Asian Development Bank Central And West Asia Regional Cooperation, Central and West Asia Department, chaired the session.
Participants discussed sector reports on education, agriculture and agribusiness, tourism, and disaster risk management for corridor development.
The meeting considered a separate preliminary analysis on the use of information and communications technology across these sectors.
The meeting also noted the need to look more deeply into the prospects for public-private partnerships and expanding manufacturing activities to support the ABCI.
The ABCI was launched with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the city administrations of Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic) at the 13th CAREC Ministerial Conference.
Under the initiative, Almaty and Bishkek will develop the first CAREC economic corridor at the city level.
The JWG was formed with seven members each from Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic, representing city administration and central government.
The first JWG meeting agreed on an initial set of priority areas for analysis: long-term urban planning, agriculture and food security, health services, education services, tourism, and infrastructure related to trade and logistics.
The second JWG meeting identified relevant areas such as special economic zones and industrial parks, with particular focus on the information technology sector.
(Photos courtesy of UNWTO)
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