CAREC countries receive grant to develop regional railway networks
An improved railway network will enhance access to regional and international markets and help increase economic growth and social welfare.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $2 million regional technical assistance grant to support the development of railways in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries.
“Railways have an important role to play in helping CAREC countries move from landlocked to land-linked,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist, Jurgen Sluijter. “Rail should be the mode of choice for trade in the region and yet railways struggle to compete against road transport. This grant will support the study and development of a regional rail system that is quick, efficient, accessible for customers and easy to use throughout the region.”
An increasing amount of freight traffic is carried by roads, costing CAREC economies more in terms of congestion, road accidents and road asset deterioration. The development of railways requires investments to be prioritised, financing to be structured and institutions improved.
The technical assistance grant will help this, enabling research on the market to occur and a regional rail traffic model to be developed. It will help identify and prepare priority bankable investment projects and train staff on how to prepare these. The technical assistance project will strengthen knowledge in common areas such as financial restructuring, corporatisation, marketing, asset management, interoperability and safety.
The CAREC partnership comprises Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—and six multilateral institutions.
These countries are increasing their emphasis on railways for regional connectivity and have adopted the CAREC railway strategy until 2030 to guide the long-term development of railways.