Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao Thursday expressed confidence in the important role the new intergovernmental organization would play in the development of the CAREC programme, as regional cooperation efforts among member countries enter a new phase.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute in Urumqi, China, says a statement received here. Pakistan Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar is also participating in the event alongwith over 100 other participants from CAREC member countries.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to the CAREC Institute for its successful transition to an intergovernmental organization,” said Nakao. “ADB is pleased to continue supporting the Institute in becoming a center of research, knowledge, and capacity building in the CAREC region.”
The CAREC Institute was originally developed as a “virtual entity” in 2006 to support regional cooperation in infrastructure development, trade and economic corridors, and agricultural and natural resource management.
Following the decision of the 13th CAREC Ministerial Conference in 2014, the Institute’s physical base was established in Urumqi in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Since, the CAREC member countries have been working on an agreement to give the Institute a legal framework.
Today’s ceremony marks the Institute’s official transition to an intergovernmental research organization following the signing and ratification of the agreement by more than three countries, including the host country. So far the PRC, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan have completed the signing and ratification.
Initiated by a technical assistance project in 1996, CAREC today is a partnership of 11 countries and six multilateral development partners. As of the end of 2016, almost $30 billion in CAREC-related investments have been made in the four priority areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy.
ADB has provided $10.4 billion, with the remaining coming from governments and development partners.
During his 3-day visit to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Mr. Nakao met with the PRC Finance Minister Xiao Jie and discussed the PRC’s macroeconomic conditions, economic policies, and ways to deepen collaboration between the PRC and ADB.
Nakao also met with Xinjiang’s Communist Party Secretary, Chen Quanguo, and discussed the progress of projects in urban development, water supply and transport, as well as opportunities for future assistance. In addition, he will witness the signing of a cooperation agreement between the CAREC Institute and ADB.
Nakao also had bilateral meetings with Kyrgyz Republic’s Chairman of State Customs Service Azamat Sulaimanov, Tajikistan’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade Nematullo Hikmatullozoda, and Uzbekistan’s Finance Minister Batir Khodjaev, and will meet with Afghanistan’s Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, and Pakistan’s Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Mohammad Ishaq Dar.
As part of his programme, Nakao visited Turpan to see one part of the recently completed Xinjiang Urban Transport and Environmental Improvement Project in the city and met with the beneficiaries of the grant-financed Turpan Women’s Ethnic Minority Cultural Tourism Development Project, which was implemented in conjunction with the Xinjiang Urban Transport and Environment Improvement Project.
In 2009, ADB provided assistance of about $100 million for the project. It constructed and upgraded roads, built bridges, improved sanitation by building toilets, and improved solid waste management stations and equipment. ADB’s Gender and Development Cooperation Fund provided a $150,000 grant to improve and strengthen ethnic minority women’s economic empowerment.
The 11 members of CAREC are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the PRC, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The six multilateral institutions are ADB, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and International Monetary Fund.