Kazakhstan to get $800 mln from ADB to improve roads
Azerbaijan, Baku, September 28 / Trend A. Yusifzade /
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending a loan facility of up to $800 million to Kazakhstan to upgrade roads and boost transit trade along a key Central Asia transport corridor, the ADB said.
The multitranche facility for the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor 2 Investment Program will finance the investment program reconstructing around 790 kilometers of roads in Mangystau Oblast (province), Kazakhstan's main oil- and mineral-producing region on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The total cost of the investment program is estimated at $1.2 billion and the government will provide $412 million equivalent as a counterpart contribution.
The eight countries and six multilateral institutions, including ADB, which make up the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC), have an action plan to develop six corridors connecting the region to other parts of Asia and Europe. Kazakhstan, with its ideal strategic location and abundant resources, is an integral part of the strategy. Trade between Asia and Europe reached $700 billion in 2009 and is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2015, with around 20 percent passing through Kazakhstan, generating an estimated $1.1 billion in revenues for the country.
Mangystau's capital, Aktau, is a hub for transporting oil and oil products to European and Asian countries, and the growing movement of goods through the port has seen a corresponding rise in road freight traffic. However, the province's roads are in poor shape, with over half of them still gravel or earth surfaces, while most paved sections have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. As a result, average driving speeds are low, costs are rising, and transit trade is running well below expectations.
The first project of the investment program will reconstruct around 200 kilometers of the road linking Manasha to Beki, and improve bridges, culverts and other infrastructure. Subsequent projects will focus on rehabilitating other key roads along CAREC Corridor 2 which links Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and Europe through the Caspian Sea in the west; to the Russian Federation in the north; and to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in the southeast and south.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is the executing agency for the program, which is expected to be completed by June 2017.