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Key link in the road from Tajikistan to the world

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

Tajikistan, one of the more remote and isolated countries in Asia, is becoming more accessible. The last unreconstructed part of the old highway within Tajikistan which connects Europe and Asia – part of the CAREC III corridor - will receive an upgrade thanks to investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank.

The EBRD is providing a sovereign loan of US$ 35 million to finance the urban section of the road within the capital. The ADB is providing grant financing for the inter-urban sections of the 62-km road.

EBRD’s Early Transition Countries Fund and the Slovak fund are also assisting with technical cooperation for the project.

Tajikistan is the poorest EBRD country of operation, and its transportation system needs a lot of work. The existing road is in poor condition, but it is crucial for the country: refurbished, it can once again support domestic and regional trade.

Unlike many other roads in this mountainous country, this one lies through a relatively easy terrain – Gissar valley. The Gissar valley is very fertile and has a lot of small industrial towns. A better road would help trade and industry and, importantly, agriculture, in this region of over 700,000 people, not counting the population of Dushanbe itself.

The upgrade of the urban section will increase transport capacity and relieve congestion in Dushanbe, and improve road safety.

Sue Barrett, the EBRD Director for Transport, says: “This is an important road investment for Tajikistan, and the EBRD is pleased to be financing this project alongside the Asian Development Bank. The road forms part of the CAREC III Corridor so is also important from a regional perspective.”

To date, the EBRD has invested over US$ 306 million in over 66 projects in Tajikistan. Developing private businesses and services that improve people’s lives, including urban transport, are some of the priorities set out in the EBRD’s current strategy for Tajikistan.

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