The Global Gateway Investors Forum for EU-Central Asia Transport Connectivity opened today in Brussels, bringing together governments, financing institutions, businesses and civil society from Europe, Central Asia and beyond. European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis announced that European and international financial institutions present at the Forum will commit €10 billion in support and investments towards sustainable transport connectivity in Central Asia.
Over the next two days, participants will discuss the required investments to transform the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor into a cutting-edge, multimodal, and efficient route, connecting Europe and Central Asia within 15 days.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underlined the urgency to find alternative reliable efficient trade routes between Europe and Asia that do not transit Russia. In addition to opening new possibilities for businesses, the development of transport connectivity is also a means to strengthen the regional integration and economic development of Central Asia. This is why the Investors Forum focuses on transport connections that comply with all aspects of sustainability, in line with the trusted connectivity principles of Global Gateway.
The €10 billion commitment is a mixture of ongoing and planned investments which, following extensive consultations with international partners present at the Forum, the European Commission foresees to be mobilised for sustainable transport development in Central Asia in the short term.
In concrete terms, several significant commitments are being made on the first day of the Forum as part of the overall €10 billion. These include:
The European Investment Bank (EIB), represented by its Vice President Teresa Czerwińska, signed Memoranda of Understanding totalling €1.47 billion with the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well as the Development Bank of Kazakhstan. These loans will be made possible by guarantees provided by the European Commission.
Later today, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), represented by its Vice President Mark Bowman, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Kazakhstan, with an investment pipeline worth €1.5 billion with projects already under preparation for the overall development of transport connectivity in the Central Asian region.
In the spirit of collaboration and progress, the Investors’ Forum marks a pivotal step towards realising the ambitious vision of the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor. Together, we strive to achieve a faster, more reliable connection between Europe and Central Asia, fostering stronger ties and opening new avenues for cooperation and trade. I am very pleased to see that international partners present today are committing to provide €10 billion in investments to develop sustainable transport connectivity in Central Asia, including new European Commission and European Investment Bank commitments of €1.5 billion, with more to come through the Commission’s open architecture for investment guarantees, Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People said.
The Investors’ Forum is an important milestone in the EU-Central Asia partnership, bringing together public and private investors from both regions to kickstart the work on the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor to link Europe and Central Asia in a fast, safe and sustainable way, in line with the EU Global Gateway strategy. This ambitious transport network will support economic growth, create local jobs, connect people to services, while contributing to regional integration, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life underscored.
In a world of increasing uncertainties, there is a need for closer partnerships to address global challenges. Central Asia has become a crucial partner for the EU with its vast potential notably in terms of security and connectivity, as well as energy and resource diversification. To be better prepared to face today’s challenges, both Europe and Central Asia need to strengthen their resilience and diversify their political and economic relationships. Today’s Investors Forum is an important step in that direction, the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell highlighted.