The two-day Global Gateway Investors Forum for EU-Central Asia Transport Connectivity opened on January 29th in Brussels, Belgium. The event brings together high-level representatives from the European Commission, countries of the EU, Central Asia and Caucasus, as well as Turkey. At the forum, the European Commission’s executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis announced that European and international financial institutions will commit €10bn ($10.8bn) in support and investments towards sustainable transport connectivity in Central Asia.
The forum’s agenda includes discussions of 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.
The European Commission said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underlined the urgency to find alternative reliable efficient trade routes between Europe and Asia. The development of transport connectivity is also a means to strengthen regional integration and economic development in Central Asia.
The €10bn commitment is a mixture of ongoing and planned investments which the European Commission foresees to be mobilized 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 €10bn. The European Investment Bank (EIB), represented by its vice-president Teresa Czerwińska, signed memoranda of understanding totaling €1.47bn ($1.6bn) with the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as with the Development Bank of Kazakhstan. These loans will be made possible by guarantees provided by the European Commission.