BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - Ministers from the 10-country Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program today endorsed CAREC 2020, a framework for intensified regional cooperation that promises to build on the program's first decade of achievement.
Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport and trade. Since 2001, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has served as the CAREC Secretariat.
"Regional cooperation within Asia as a whole will become significantly more important in the coming decades," said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda. "For CAREC in particular, regional cooperation can transform individual economies from land-locked to land-linked, thus expanding their reach and significantly increasing their growth potential."
CAREC 2020 will help member countries expand international trade, and boost their competitiveness in the broader global economy through strategically prioritized regional investments that open access to major external markets and increase trade within the region.
"CAREC 2020 captures very well our collective vision, goals, and objectives for the CAREC Program for the next decade," said Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Azerbaijan. "We are all committed to make this happen because we believe that regional cooperation is an important step to achieve our shared goal of a prosperous region."
President Kuroda met with President Ilham Aliyev and ADB Governor and Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov to discuss ADB assistance to Azerbaijan in priority sectors, including power, transport, and water supply and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation.
Since 2001, CAREC-related investments have totaled $17 billion in energy, trade and transportation. These include building trademark CAREC transport corridors and energy networks throughout these mainly landlocked nations. Improved infrastructure contributed to a nearly 13-fold increase in intraregional trade between 2001 and 2008, and looking forward, the corridors could triple trade flows by 2017 from the 2007 total.
CAREC 2020 details priority projects, estimated at over $50 billion, needed to complete the six CAREC transport corridors, improve energy security, and promote development of true economic corridors.
Six multilateral institutions (MIs) 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.
Financing of CAREC projects over the next 10 years will be discussed by senior representatives of the MIs and donor agencies from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and others at the Development Partners' Forum on 24 November.