The eight countries participating in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program are expected to take a major step forward in broadening and deepening the program at a meeting in the People's Republic of China next week. The meeting 5th Ministerial Conference on CAREC opens on Wednesday in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, PRC.
At the Conference, Ministers will consider a Comprehensive Action Plan to guide the strategic management of the CAREC Program and will also discuss ways to accelerate the momentum of regional cooperation in Central Asia and its neighbors, Trend reports with reference to the statement of ADB Baku Office.
The Action Plan represents a significant step forward in terms of clarifying the program's mission, goals, and agenda for the coming years. It should enable the program to strengthen its important contribution to economic growth and social development, said Craig Steffensen, Head of ADB's CAREC Unit.
Over three days, the conference brings together ministers and senior officials from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, PRC, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; as well as senior representatives of CAREC's six partner multilateral institutions (MI), bilateral and other regional organizations.
On October 16, about 200 private sector representatives and government officials will also gather in Urumqi for the first CAREC Business Development Forum. The Forum is intended to discuss investment opportunities in CAREC countries and explore ways for the private sector to play a more active role in regional cooperation initiatives.
CAREC is a broad partnership of the eight participating countries and six MIs ADB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and World Bank.
The Program aims to promote practical, results-based regional projects and policy initiatives critical to trade expansion, sustainable development and meeting new challenges in a rapidly growing and increasingly integrated Eurasian supercontinent. For the three-year period 2006-2008, CAREC's six MI partners plan to provide more than 40 loans to participating countries worth over $2.3 billion in support of regional investments in the priority areas.