ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Kazakhstan signed a $187 million loan agreement on 3 December 2009 to reconstruct a 79 km stretch of CAREC Corridor 1 linking Europe and the People’s Republic of China.
The loan, the second installment of a $700 million multitranche financing facility (MFF), was signed by ADB Vice President Xiaoyu Zhao and Kazakhstan Minister of Finance Bolat Zhamishev at a ceremony in Astana. The improved road will reduce travel time 40 percent by 2015, while cutting freight transport costs by half. It will also improve road safety.
At the signing ceremony in Astana, Mr. Zhao praised Kazakhstan’s government for focusing on infrastructure that will spur transit traffic, promote trade, and strengthen regional cooperation.
“We appreciate the Government’s efforts made over the last several years in improving and expanding transport infrastructure. The Government’s well-designed Transport Sector Development Strategy is leading to a road system that is much safer, more accessible and affordable,” Mr. Zhao.
In total, the three-tranche MMF –- which is being implemented within the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program — is financing the reconstruction of 470 km of road in Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl Oblast, an area some 400 km southwest of Almaty.
The Zhambyl Oblast stretch forms part of the Western Europe-Western People’s Republic of China International Transit Road Corridor, otherwise known as CAREC Corridor 1. The Kazakhstan portion of the corridor runs 2,715 km from the city of Khorgos on the Chinese border through Almaty and Shymkent and on to the western border with the Russian Federation.
Founded in 1997, CAREC is a partnership of eight countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – and six multilateral institutions: ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank. ADB has served as CAREC Secretariat since 2000.
Mr. Zhao is visiting Kazakhstan to take part in the 22nd Plenary Session of the Foreign Investors’ Council that takes place in Astana on 4 December. He will also be meeting with government officials including Prime Minister Karim Masimov and ministers of finance, economy and budget planning, and transport and communications to discuss ongoing collaboration between ADB and Kazakhstan.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2008, it approved $10.5 billion of loans, $811.4 million of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to $274.5 million.