The FINANCIAL -- Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang is on a 4-day visit in Astana where he has held talks with senior officials of the Government of Kazakhstan about ADB’s new 2017-2021 Country Partnership Strategy.
Mr. Zhang has also attended several sessions of the Astana Economic Forum on regional cooperation and integration, and Kazakhstan’s development perspectives. On 15 June, he co-chaired the brainstorming session on the new Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) 2030 Strategy.
Mr. Zhang, who is responsible for ADB’s operations in Central, West, and South Asia, met with Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Minister of National Economy and ADB Governor for Kazakhstan Timur Suleimenov, Minister of Finance Bakhyt Sultanov, Minister of Health Yelzhan Birtanov, and other high-level officials. During the meetings, Mr. Zhang discussed ADB’s ongoing operations in the country and ways for ADB to further strengthen cooperation with Kazakhstan.
“ADB will continue to support the Government of Kazakhstan’s development agenda and is exploring new ways of engaging with the country, including public-private partnerships, blended finance, and other innovative financing approaches,” said Mr. Zhang.
ADB’s current assistance to Kazakhstan includes support to strengthen transport infrastructure to boost cross-border trade, public sector lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises to increase employment and competitiveness, and programs to facilitate knowledge and best international practices. ADB is also working with the government and other development partners to promote cross-border links through the CAREC program. Since its establishment in 2001, CAREC has financed more than 176 projects worth $30 billion, with ADB providing over $10 billion in assistance, according to ADB.
“During its 16 years of operations, the CAREC program has built a strong track record of promoting economic cooperation across its 11 member countries,” said Mr. Zhang. “The new CAREC Strategy will consider ways to deepen support for regional infrastructure development as well as broadening its work to other areas critical for regional development, including environment, education, agriculture value-chains, cross-border health, food and water security, ICT, tourism, and finance”. The new strategy also envisages to enhance the institutional set up.
Since joining ADB in 1994, Kazakhstan has received about $5 billion in sovereign and nonsovereign loans for agriculture and irrigation, education, finance, transport, energy, water supply, and sanitation.