Regional Cooperation and Economic Development in Central Asia

In an increasingly integrated world, regional cooperation is key to the long-term prosperity of nations. Here are 12 things to know about regional cooperation among the countries in Central Asia and between Central Asia and its neighbors.

  1. The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program promotes development through a partnership of 10 countries and 6 multilateral institutions,1 for which ADB serves as the secretariat.
    Source: ADB publication The New Silk Road: Ten Years of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
  1. Started in 2001, the CAREC Program helps build transport, trade, and energy links that connect mostly landlocked members with each other and to markets beyond. It increases the mobility of people and goods and improves living standards across Central Asia and neighboring countries.
    Source: ADB publication The New Silk Road: Ten Years of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
  1. Central Asia is best known historically for its trans-Asian commerce that linked Europe with East Asia via the ancient Silk Route. It is a region rich in natural resources, including oil and gas, with a surprising variety of animals and plants.
    Source: ADB publication Central Asia Atlas of Natural Resources
  1. The backbone of the CAREC Program is the development of six modern, efficient land transport corridors that link Central, East, and South Asia with the Middle East and Europe.
    Source: ADB publication The New Silk Road: Ten Years of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program
  1. The number of projects approved and implemented by CAREC member countries and multilateral institution partners has grown to 136, with a cumulative value of over $21 billion in 2012.
    Source: ADB news release Central Asia Officials Meet to Discuss Implementation of CAREC Program
  1. In 2012, approved transport and energy projects had a total value of $3.2 billion (including World Bank financing) and $265 million, respectively.
    Source: ADB Annual Report 2012
  1. In transport, improvements in the six CAREC corridors since 2008 have exceeded 2012 targets, with 46% of the corridors to be built or upgraded, or 3,942 kilometers of roads being completed. In energy, 2,322 kilometers of power transmission lines have been built since 2009, bringing reliable electricity to millions of people and thousands of businesses.
    Source: From Landlocked to Linked In
  1. CAREC celebrated 10 years of institutional cooperation in 2011 with the launch of a 10-year strategic framework (CAREC 2020) for the next decade of the program.
    Source: CAREC Development Effectiveness Review 2011
  1. CAREC 2020 is accompanied by a medium-term (2011–2015) rolling list of priority investments and technical assistance projects, representing key regional projects that are also included in the participating countries’ national development plans
    Source: CAREC 2020
  1. In 2012, ministers of the 10 CAREC nations agreed on the Wuhan Action Plan to implement more than $23 billion in new regional transport infrastructure projects, together with energy and trade initiatives.
    Source: ADB news release CAREC Ministers Agree on $23 Billion Action Plan to Boost Central Asia Links
  1. The Wuhan Action Plan prioritizes 68 transport projects that will contribute to the six major corridors. This will be complemented by efforts to improve border and customs services to allow people and goods to move easily between nations.
    Source: ADB news release CAREC Ministers Agree on $23 Billion Action Plan to Boost Central Asia Links
  1. Planned energy investments include installation or upgrading of 755 kilometers of transmission lines in CAREC corridors.
    Source: ADB Annual Report 2012

1 Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; and Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and World Bank.

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