Central Asia Officials Meet to Discuss Implementation of CAREC Program

ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN – Senior officials from the 10 member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program met on 27-28 June in Almaty to review the implementation of the program aimed to develop regional transport networks, boost regional trade, and secure an efficient, reliable energy supply.

“As the CAREC program enters its second decade, the evidence is clear that CAREC’s goal to promote regional cooperation and integration – with a clear project focus and attention to results and a strong push for action – is a highly effective development strategy,” said Klaus Gerhaeusser, Director General of Central and West Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) reviewed the progress in each of CAREC’s four priority sectors of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy, and discussed how to further deepen the cooperation for continued growth and sustainable development. Today, 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.

Kazakhstan was one of the founding partners and is an active participant of the CAREC Program. Of the six CAREC transport corridors that link the region's key economic hubs and connect the landlocked CAREC countries to Eurasian and global markets, three passthrough the territory of Kazakhstan. These include Western Europe – Western PRC megaproject, the rehabilitation of the Aktau-Beineu road and the Shymkent-Tashkent road among others. Since 2001, 22 projects for a total amount of $7.9 billion have been  approved for Kazakhstan in transport and trade facilitation, and for energy.

Timur Zhaxylykov, Vice-Minister of Economy and Budget Planning of the Republic of Kazakhstan and CAREC National Focal Point for Kazakhstan, led the Kazakh delegation and chaired the SOM. He noted that the Kazakhstan Government is committed to helping make CAREC a continuing force for economic development in this part of the world that is now reprising its historical role as a vital link between the markets of Europe and Asia. “By cooperating with each other on critical reforms in transport, trade, and energy, we enhance the prospects for increased trade, reduced poverty, and sustained inclusive growth,” he said.

Participants agreed on “Integrated Transport and Trade” as the theme of the 12th CAREC Ministerial Conference, which will be held on 24-25 October 2013 in Astana.

The CAREC partnership comprises 10 countries — Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — and six multilateral institutions: ADB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001.