Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » Central Asia ministers agree on $23-B regional linkage plan

Ministers of the 10 Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program nations agreed to implement more than $23 billion in new regional transport infrastructure projects, together with energy and trade initiatives, to create seamless connectivity and greater prosperity in the region.

The Wuhan Action Plan, unveiled at the ministers’ meeting on October 30 in Wuhan, China, prioritizes 68 transport projects that will contribute to six major corridors linking the ports in eastern China with the Caucasus and beyond, and connecting northern Kazakhstan to the trading hubs in Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan.

This will be complemented by efforts to improve border and customs services to allow people and goods to move easily between nations, an Asian Development Bank press release said. In addition, CAREC nations aim to raise funds to build and improve energy assets.

The ministers, representing Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, also agreed to establish a base for the CAREC Institute in the region by 2014 to support strategic projects through analytical work, training, and knowledge management.

Since 2001, the CAREC region has seen over $19 billion in investments in over 120 projects, including almost 4,000 kilometers of roads, 3,200 kilometers of railways, and more than 2,300 kilometers of power transmission lines.

CAREC ministers met in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2011 and endorsed the CAREC 2020 framework for the region for the subsequent decade. They will next meet in late 2013 in Kazakhstan.

“Regional cooperation is essential to promote inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth,” said ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda in a keynote address to the 11th CAREC Ministerial Conference. “Poor connectivity arising from inadequate transport and communications infrastructure can impede trade expansion and investment attraction.”

 

Photo: toehk

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