US$ 55 million from two multilaterals for upgrade of international road
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will sign their first joint project on Saturday, which is also one of the first projects for the AIIB.
The two banks will commit a total of US$ 55 million (US$ 27.5 million co-financing portion each) to the upgrade of a key section of the motorway connecting Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, with neighbouring Uzbekistan. Improved regional connectivity is a strategic priority for both financial institutions. the EBRD's co-financing portion is USD 27.5 million
The project will be undertaken in line with EBRD performance requirements, procurement rules and environmental and social standards.
The signing will take place during the multilateral development bank’s first annual meeting in Beijing. The AIIB was inaugurated in January this year. In the same month, China became an EBRD shareholder country
Thomas Maier, EBRD Managing Director for Infrastructure, and AIIB Vice President D J Pandian will sign the agreements.
Thomas Maier says: “This first joint cooperation between the EBRD and AIIB is a historic milestone for multilateral cooperation. Developing countries need modern infrastructure for economic growth, but the financing gap in regions such as Central Asia can only be plugged with active participation from multilateral institutions like the EBRD and AIIB. The road in Dushanbe will not only serve the capital of Tajikistan but can also become a key point on the new Silk Road and beyond.”
Technical cooperation will be provided by the government of Tajikistan, EBRD-managed multi-donor funds and the Slovak Republic.
The road, for which the EBRD had also approved separate financing of US$ 35 million in 2015, is part of the Pamir Highway and trans-continental highway networks. Providing a direct connection between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan, it is one of the most important international roads still requiring urgent reconstruction.
AIIB Vice President D J Pandian comments: “The key objectives of the AIIB are to address the existing infrastructure gaps and to strengthen the regional connectivity of nations. The Dushanbe-Uzbekistan Border Road Improvement Project in Tajikistan serves the AIIB’s strategic priorities. Since its inception the AIIB has been looking forward to working together with other multilateral institutions and took this project as an opportunity to collaborate with the EBRD in the development of Central Asia.”
The new financing will help Tajikistan upgrade a section of the road in the capital, Dushanbe, between the Avicenna Monument and the Western Gate, including the 82nd and Avicenna roundabouts.
The EBRD and AIIB are currently considering other joint projects.