NUR-SULTAN, KAZAKHSTAN (30 September 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $167.02 million loan for a project that will rehabilitate and reconstruct 89 kilometers (km) of road between Aktobe and Kandyagash, which will connect major trade routes in Kazakhstan and improving the country’s connectivity, trade activities, and road safety.
“Kazakhstan has a huge potential to become a major trading and transit hub in Central Asia, but the country’s transport sector, particularly its road network, needs to be upgraded and improved,” said ADB Principal Transport Specialist Mr. Jiangbo Ning. “A modern and functioning transport sector will help foster economic growth, enhance a country’s competitiveness, and provide a better quality of life to its people.”
With Kazakhstan’s geographic location, it is well-placed to become a bridge between Asia and Europe. The country is bordered by the Russian Federation in the north and west; the People’s Republic of China in the east; and the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the south. Bordering the Caspian Sea, the country also has access to Western Europe through its ports. However, Kazakhstan’s road network is deteriorating, with only about one-fifth of roads nationwide considered to be in good condition.
Poor road condition is also a contributing factor in road crashes, highlighting the need for better road safety features and awareness. For instance, road crashes cost Kazakhstan about $2 billion to $4 billion per year, which was about 4% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2013. Traffic-related deaths in the country are about 21.9 per 100,000 people, which is four times higher than the average in Western Europe.
ADB’s assistance will upgrade the existing two-lane highway connecting Aktobe to Kandyagash to a divided four-lane one equipped with climate-resilient features, while constructing gender-sensitive service facilities. The project will reconstruct all bridges, build two new bypasses of villages, and improve road safety. It will also improve the connectivity between two corridors (1 and 6) of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), which are important trade routes to the Russian Federation and the European Union—two of Kazakhstan’s major trade partners.
The loan will be disbursed to KazAvtoZhol National Joint Stock Company (KazAvtoZhol), established in 2013, which is responsible for the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of national highways of Kazakhstan. The project will also strengthen KazAvtoZhol’s institutional capacity by providing equipment, staffing, and training on financial management, procurement, project management, gender, and social safeguards management.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.