ADB to support Uzbekistan road improvement

By Chris Sleight23 August 2011

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend up to US$ 500 million in three packages to aid the reconstruction of 230 km of roads in Uzbekistan. The government of Uzbekistan will contribute US$ 100 million to the project for a total of US$ 600 million.

The first loan will be for US$ 130 million, and will be used to rehabilitate a 74 km stretch of the A373 highway through the Fergana Valley. According to the ADB, about a third of the country's population is in this region and it is also a major area for agricultural production. As well as rebuilding roads that the ADB describes as "poor quality," the funds will be used to improve road safety.

Shakeel Khan, the ADB's principal portfolio management specialist at its central and west Asia department said, "The road reconstruction work with up-to-date safety features will result in safer and faster travel, and greater access to social services and lower transport costs. It will also open up new trade, business and investment opportunities for people both domestically and in neighbouring countries."

The roads being targeted are also part of the Second Central Asia Regional Economic Co-operation (CAREC) Corridor 2 programme. This investment scheme is designed to provide a transport corridor between the Caucasus and Mediterranean to East Asia, and is one of a number of schemes being built under CAREC. This initiative is designed to help Central Asian countries take advantage of the region's strategic location between Asia and Europe.

According to the ADB road passenger and freight traffic are booming in Uzbekistan, with vehicle fleets projected to double every five years. It says the government of Uzbekistan spends 1% of GDP on roads but is gradually increasing the amount. ADB's assistance will help the government raise the capacity of oversight agencies to manage and maintain roads and implement a national road safety strategy and action plan.

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