EBRD helps modernise public transport in Kazakhstan

By Ina Coretchi

The EBRD is supporting the modernisation of public transport in Kazakhstan with a loan to upgrade electric transport in the city of Almaty, the country’s business, financial and cultural centre.

The $10 million credit to Almatyelectrotrans (AET), the Bank’s first loan to a municipal enterprise in Kazakhstan, will finance the upgrade of power substations of the electric transport network in Almaty. The project will help AET cut operating costs and reduce power consumption, improving the quality and reliability of transport services provided to the public.

Wholly-owned by the Almaty municipality, AET operates two trams and nine trolleybus lines, with total route length of 65 and 207 km respectively, carrying around 30 million passengers per year.

The EBRD project will support the city’s aim of bolstering electric transport as the backbone of public transport in the city and improving environmental condition in Almaty, which is severely affected by heavy vehicle traffic.

The Bank’s loan is complemented by technical assistance funds, which will be used to help the Almaty municipality restructure and commercialise AET, as well as to develop a Public Service Contract, which will improve the standards for the provision of public services.

In addition grant funds will be offered to assist the city of Almaty to develop a feasibility study for upgrading the city’s tram system under Public Private Partnership scheme.

The non-reimbursable technical assistance grants worth over €900,000 are provided by the governments of Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Singapore.

“The EBRD is pleased to support the efforts of Almaty municipality to improve the quality of public transport in the city. This project will help AET to grow into a modern provider of public transport services and will open opportunities for new investments in municipal transport in Almaty”, said Thomas Maier, EBRD Business Group Director for Infrastructure.

“The EBRD’s long term loan, provided for the first time to a municipal utility enterprise in Kazakhstan, will both help to address imminent problems and assist with further development of transport infrastructure of our city. This project will lay the foundation for our future cooperation with the view to improve overall municipal infrastructure of Almaty”, said Mr. Akhmetzhan Esimov, the Mayor of Almaty.

“Thanks to the support of the City of Almaty we have signed a very promising and important loan agreement, which will contribute to the growth and development of the electric transport in the city. We hope to continue the mutually beneficial co-operation with such a reliable partner as the EBRD”, added Mr. Talgat Abdrakhmanov, Head of Almatyelectrotrans.

Since the beginning of its activities in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested more than €2.3 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, of which €385 million in infrastructure.