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EIB Global commits €1.47bn for sustainable transport infrastructure in Central Asia: Global Gateway

B360 February 3, 2024, 12:12 pm
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European Investment Bank (EIB) Global signed memoranda of understanding for project co-financing with the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Development Bank of Kazakhstan for a total of €1.47 billion at the EU-Central Asia Investors Forum held in Brussels, January 29, 2024.

The European Union (EU) will upgrade the transport sector in Central Asia through EIB co-financing. The financing is expected to mobilise additional capital, resulting in total support to sustainable transport projects of €3 billion. The EIB will share its expertise in this sector with its partners in Central Asia.

EIB support for sustainable transport in the region will help to achieve EU priorities as defined in the EU-Central Asia Roadmap and to implement targets of the Global Gateway, which is essential for modernising economies and societies.

EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska said, “EIB investment will improve people’s quality of life and strengthen economic growth and employment opportunities. It will foster social and gender equality. Transport is the backbone of the economy, facilitating personal mobility and enabling goods, capital and services to be exchanged between the countries of the region. Investing in sustainable transport is key to addressing climate impact and enhancing the resilience of transport networks."

European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis stated, “Today’s Memoranda of Understanding represent an opportunity for both the EU and Central Asian countries. We are committed to strengthening our trade relations in a way that benefits both regions. Today’s €10 billion overall commitment by international partners will help to develop connectivity, boost trade exchanges and sustainable transport projects, and take this partnership to the next level.”

Marat Karabayev, Minister of Transport of Kazakhstan, stated, “We need to implement infrastructural projects to make freight transportation efficient. This memorandum of understanding will drive the implementation of major interregional cooperation initiatives.”

Bakyt Torobaev, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, added, “The MoU signed today is an important element of our cooperation aimed at strengthening interregional transport connectivity. I express confidence that through joint efforts, we will soon launch significant projects that will contribute to the development of our country's transport infrastructure. The Kyrgyz Republic holds a geographical position on trade routes and has potential for connecting the East and the West, as well as the North and the South, and is ready to serve as a transit hub."

Ilkhom Makhkamov, Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan, said, “This agreement marks a new era of progress for Uzbekistan and our neighbours. As we sign a MOU, we are paving the way for progress in the transport sector. This collaboration is our shared commitment to enhance the sustainable transport connections between Europe and Central Asia. Through this partnership, we are investing in our infrastructure and in the prosperity and well-being of our people. Together, we will create bridges that will carry us towards shared goals of development and a sustainable future for all.”

Botagoz Abisheva, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (DBK), noted, "An agreement has been reached with the EIB for the potential provision of a facility to DBK for up to €320 million. These funds are intended to support projects across sectors of the economy, focusing on developing sustainable transport infrastructure connecting Europe and Central Asia. This cooperation aims to enhance trade relations between the two regions."

The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It finances investments that contribute to EU policy objectives. EIB projects enhance competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, and support a transition to climate neutrality.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s arm dedicated to operations outside the European Union and is a key partner of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. It aims to support at least €100 billion of investment by the end of 2027, around one-third of the overall target of Global Gateway. Within Team Europe, EIB Global fosters partnerships alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local communities, companies and institutions through its offices worldwide.

Since the start of EIB operations in Central Asia in 2011, the EU bank has signed loans amounting to €1.1 billion in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, supporting sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, water management and improved access to finance for small businesses.

The EIB finances projects that drive greener, safer and more efficient and accessible transport, in line with its Transport Lending Policy, updated in July 2022 following the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap and the European Green Deal. This policy sets the investment priorities needed to overcome the challenges facing the transport sector, and those best able to power the shift to a more sustainable transport system.

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