BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - Next week in Baku, Azerbaijan, ministers from 10 countries spanning the Caucuses, and Central, East and South Asia will gather to mark a decade of achievement, including $17 billion of investments in energy, trade and transportation under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.
"The first decade of CAREC put in place a framework for cooperation, and carried out regional projects as a means to achieve development objectives of member countries," said Juan Miranda, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director General for Central and West Asia. "In the next decade, CAREC will help boost international trade and improve the competitiveness of member countries through a program of strategic regional investments in transport, trade facilitation, and energy."
The CAREC partnership counts more than 120 projects to date, including six extensive transport corridors and energy networks that are beginning to improve lives and livelihoods across the region. ADB has contributed $5.5 billion to total CAREC investments since 2001. The ring road, rail and electricity projects in Afghanistan, and the East-West Corridor in Azerbaijan are flagship programs that embody CAREC.
About 4,000 km of road and 2,250 km of railway lines have been built or upgraded, opening up corridors of trade and opportunity. Streamlined customs procedures are moving people and their businesses across borders faster and at less cost. Electricity transmission lines and upgraded power plants are beginning to boost the vital energy trade in the region that will bring prosperity and security.
Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport, and trade facilitation from northern PRC to the Caucasus and Europe, and from Kazakhstan to the warm water ports of Karachi, Gwadar and beyond.
The Ministerial Conference, to be held from 22-24 November, will also launch CAREC 2020 as the new roadmap for the next 10 years. This will provide a blueprint to help countries expand trade, spur competitiveness in the broader global economy, and reposition Central Asia as the pivot of regional trade.
Six multilateral institutions support the work of CAREC: ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001.