ADB, EBRD Strengthen Ties in Caucasus and Central Asia

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have agreed to work more closely on a range of projects to build capacity and promote public private partnerships across the Caucasus and Central Asia.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in London by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda and EBRD President Thomas Mirow aims to strengthen and deepen cooperation in the organizations’ common countries of operation: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“This framework for cooperation in countries we both serve is good for our clients and our two institutions,” Mr. Kuroda said at the signing ceremony. “The framework will encourage us to continue to work closely together, as we have been doing in the recent past, both with the private and public sectors.”

”Both our institutions are strongly committed to helping unlock the region’s vast economic potential by supporting market-oriented, private sector development, boosting public-private partnerships and building the road, rail and energy networks necessary to facilitate growth in trade and commerce,” Mr. Mirow said.

The ADB and EBRD are partners in the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, which later this week celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a Ministerial Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. The CAREC partnership has spent the past decade developing some $17 billion in energy networks and transport corridors connecting its member countries to one another and to the booming markets of East and South Asia, Europe, and the Russian Federation.

Examples of CAREC in action include Afghanistan’s new rail link connecting the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif with Uzbekistan and a range of free trade and customs harmonization agreements speeding trade and reducing bottlenecks across the region.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members -- 48 from the region. In 2010, ADB approvals, including, cofinancing, totaled $17.51 billion. In addition, ADB’s ongoing Trade Finance Program supported $2.8 billion in trade.

The EBRD was founded in 1991 and has become the largest financial investor in a region stretching from central Europe and the Western Balkans to Central Asia. It is owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental organizations, with headquarters in London. With the ability and willingness to bear risk on behalf of its clients, it helps countries in the region to become democratic, market economies.