CAREC Ministerial Conference Opens in People's Republic of China

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - The 11th Ministerial Conference on Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) is taking place in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) on  29-31 October.

“We are very pleased with the progress of CAREC activities and believe that the Ministerial Conference will further strengthen cooperation among CAREC countries and achieve tangible results,” said Olly Norojono, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Azerbaijan Resident Mission Representative.

Since joining CAREC in 2002, Azerbaijan has invested almost $3 billion in CAREC-related projects to help improve lives and livelihoods across the region. An extensive network of CAREC road and railway corridors carry people and trade from northern PRC to the Caucasus and Europe, and from Kazakhstan to the warm water ports of Karachi, Gwadar and global markets beyond.

Azerbaijan’s East-West Highway improvements under CAREC have helped this vital transport artery become a faster and more efficient corridor between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, promoting trade between Europe and Asia. Better roads have helped revive local agricultural and industrial sectors, and also spread the benefits of oil revenue.

Azerbaijan has hosted the ministerial conference twice, in 2008 and 2011.

Last year’s Ministerial Conference, held in Baku in November 2011, celebrated a decade of successful collaboration among the 10 CAREC member countries. Ministers and senior officials from all CAREC countries not only marked the achievements of the first 10 years, but also embraced a deeper vision of a truly integrated and globally connected region where people and trade move faster and more efficiently through borders. Today, more than $19 billion in investments has been made under the CAREC Program.

At the 2011 conference, CAREC 2020 was launched as a new strategy for the next 10 years that will help countries expand trade, improve their competitiveness in the global economy, and reposition the region as the pivot of regional trade.

At this year’s conference, the countries will discuss a results-based progress report in the four sectors of CAREC (transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy) and the CAREC 2020 Implementation Plan. The countries will also address the future direction of the CAREC Institute, and progress in the CAREC Economic Corridor Development Study.

ADB, together with other development partners including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank, has been supporting CAREC, which is comprised of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the PRC, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.