Progress continues on 6 CAREC corridors, says ADB
DUSHANBE (Pajhwok): Work on six multimodal corridors linking Central Asia to global markets under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme was ongoing, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said.
The Manila-based bank continued to support investments in roads, railways and other transport and cross-border infrastructure to complete the corridors, Physical progress on road and rail projects underway.
Toychik Chansavat, Office-in-Charge, ADB Tajikistan Resident Mission, told Pajhwok Afghan News they were strengthening support for “soft” interventions to complement investments in “hard” infrastructure.
Under the CAREC Transport Sector Work Plan (2015-2017), efforts were being made to improve road safety, share best practices on road asset management, develop a regional strategy for railways and facilitate cross-border transport.
He claimed concrete progress made in 2015 toward the goals included the endorsement by CAREC ministers of the “Commitment to Road Safety” and the inauguration of the CAREC Railway Working Group.
Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) project includes development of the National Single Window in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan and construction of two border crossing points.
The border crossing point in Tajikistan is scheduled for completion in June 2016, while construction in the Kyrgyz Republic will start in May 2016. ADB is processing a similar project for Mongolia and is looking forward to launching RIBS in other CAREC member countries.
The bank is promoting cooperation in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in CAREC, and a Common Agenda for the modernization of SPS has been developed and approved by the 14th CAREC Ministerial Conference in Mongolia last year. A $15.0 million loan to Mongolia to upgrade SPS measures for trade facilitation was approved in November 2015.
ADB continues to support national and regional energy security and trade to facilitate consultative process of policy dialogue and negotiations. Financing will be focused on resolving the issue of aging assets in generation and transmission, trade, clean energy development, energy efficiency and new technology.
It facilitated dialogue and training to introduce innovation and leapfrogging of new technology projects in CAREC countries to tackle climate change and plan for lower carbon future.
This translated into the 2016-2020 strategy and specific actions in the work plan geared towards more innovation, efficient regulation, new technology adoption and added value for the members, which senior officials endorsed and ministers approved in September 2015.
ADB is implementing technical assistance to assess capacity and willingness of CAREC countries to finance power infrastructure development from their own resources, and examine other potential sources of financing for both national and cross-border projects.
It is also providing capacity development activities and knowledge sharing program to CAREC countries to enhance their institutional capacity.
ADB and the IMF are co-chairing the CAREC Trade Policy Coordinating Committee which aims to help CAREC countries create and open, transparent and predictable trade environment through:
(i) achieving WTO accession and post accession adaptation; (ii) making non-tariff measurers consistent with WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement and Sanity and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement; (iii) expanding trade in services; and (iv) achieving more trade openness prior to WTO accession;
ADB is working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist CAREC members in efficiently interacting with intraregional and interregional markets to attain expanded and diversified trade by implementing the Trade Policy Strategic Action Plan 2013-2017;
In the area of supporting WTO accession and post-accession adaptation, ADB’s technical assistance on Strengthening Tajikistan’s Trade and Investment Regime (approved in 2013 and completed in 2015) has successfully delivered the three outputs envisaged in the TA paper: Policy research and analysis on organisational reforms of the Standards Agency (Tajikstandart); an executive training on policy and regulatory reforms; and a high-level international trade and investment conference. Both the government and the WTO highly commended ADB for the timely and necessary support and the TA demonstration effect.
Ganjina Fazilova, Regional Cooperation Coordinator for Tajikistan told a group of journalists, CAREC Corridor 1 (East-West Corridor) would enable efficient transport and trade with Europe, via the Russian road and rail network, and with East Asia, via the PRC road and rail network.
Through connections with other CAREC corridors access to these key markets would be improved for all Central Asian economies. Currently, less than 1 percent of Europe-Asia trade travels through Central Asia, She said.
The Implementation Action Plan for the Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy sought to raise this to 5 percent by 2017.
According to Fazilova the Action Plan included 19 projects along this Corridor out of which nine projects were ongoing: seven in PRC, one in Kazakhstan, and one in Kyrgyz Republic.
This corridor included 13,600 km of road infrastructure, 12,000 km of railway network, 3 airports and a logistics center.
She said CAREC Corridor 2 connected the Caucasus and Mediterranean to East Asia – covering Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and China.
There were 30 projects planned for this Corridor out of which 12 were in Azerbaijan, 6 in Uzbekistan, 5 in Kyrgyz Republic, 3 in PRC, 2 in Kazakhstan and one each in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
She said this corridor covers 9,900 km of road infrastructure, 9,700 km of railway network and 6 logistics centers.
CAREC Corridor 3 connected the Russian Federation with the Middle East and South Asia, running through Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Fazilova said there were 31 projects planned for this Corridor out of which 12 are in Afghanistan, 8 in Tajikistan, 6 in Kyrgyz Republic, 3 in Kazakhstan and two projects are being done on a regional level. This corridor covers 6,900 km of road infrastructure, 4,800 km of railway network and a logistics centers.
CAREC Corridor 4 connected the Russian Federation with East Asia via Mongolia and China. This is the smallest of the corridors but one with high growth potential, she remarked.
There were 7 projects planned for this Corridor out of which 5 are in Mongolia and one in PRC. This corridor covers 2,400 km of road infrastructure and 1,100 km of railway network.
CAREC Corridor 5 connected East Asia (primarily PRC) with the Middle East and South Asia; running through PRC, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. There are 15 projects planned for this Corridor out of which 6 are in Tajikistan, 3 each in PRC and China, 2 in Kyrgyz Republic and two projects are being done on a regional level.
This corridor covered 3,700 km of road infrastructure, 2,000 km of railway network and one logistics centers.
She said the CAREC Corridor 6 (North - South Corridor) would enable efficient transport and trade of Central Asian economies with the large markets in Europe, via the Russian road network, and South Asia, via Pakistan’s National Economic Corridor.
The Corridor would provide Central Asian economies with critical access to the warm water ports of Karachi, Gwadar, Chabahar and Bandar-Abbas.
The Implementation Action Plan for the Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy identifies 15 projects along Corridor 6a and 6b. Six projects were ongoing: four in Afghanistan and two in Tajikistan. This corridor included 10,600 km roads & highways, 7,200 km of railway network and 5 key logistic centers.
Approved on September 11, 2012, the project was scheduled to close on September 30, 2016. Of the $100 million project cost, ADB’s grant amounts to $22 million – with counterpart financing from the Tajikistan government. A $14 million loan has been promised by the OPEC Fund for International Development, she said.
Holboy Saidov, Chief Engineer, Road PIU at Tajikistan’s Ministry of Transport, took to the site and briefed journalists about 113 km of rehabilitated and reconstructed road between Ayni–Panjakent and the border with Uzbekistan, including 31 bridges.
He said the project supported the economic development of the region and the country, as a whole, and aimed to enhance regional cooperation. The project road was part of the historic Silk Road, and CAREC Corridor 6.
The Zarafshan Valley was an isolated and remote region, which was prone to extreme natural events. The project road provided the only access to rest of the country and beyond.
Before the project, poor road conditions restricted access of more than 300,000 inhabitants living in the region to markets, educational and medical services, and also limited the region's capacity to develop agriculture, mining, and tourism.
Saidshoh Abdullaev, Deputy Chief Engineer, Nurek Hydropower Plant, explained the Nurek 500 KV Switchyard Reconstruction Project which was completed on July 30, 2016 at the cost of $54.77 million – ADB grant`. Additional $12.13 million – counterpart financing provided for the project by the government of Tajikistan, he said.
The Nurek hydropower plant, with total installed capacity of 3,000 megawatts, produced more than 70% of Tajikistan’s electricity. It was the largest hydropower plant in Central Asia, according to Abdullaev.
The ADB-supported project helped ensured a reliable electricity supply to support economic development of the country.
The project built a new 500kV switchyard at the Nurek hydropower plant. The new switchyard used a state-of-the-art gas insulated technology and is largely maintenance-free, since all parts were enclosed in gas chambers, reducing almost all contact with dust, humidity, and other external agents, he said.
It also used 100 times less space than the old switchyard, which was built more than 30 years ago, and took up nearly 4 hectares. The old switchyard was in need of complete replacement due to its deteriorating equipment and unstable geological site.
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