New economic corridor between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan taking shape

DUSHANBE (TCA) — The initiative of a new economic corridor between Shymkent (Kazakhstan)-Tashkent (Uzbekistan)-Khujand (Tajikistan) and the surrounding oblasts can expand the regional dynamism and promote economic integration in the region, according to the inception workshop organized on May 31 by the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC), for which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as the secretariat.

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program has a membership of 11 countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Shymkent-Tashkent-Khujand cities and surrounding Turkestan-Tashkent-Sughd oblasts to be explored as a potential economic corridor under CAREC. The three cities and surrounding oblasts are within easy access of each other and host a relatively large population: roughly 15% of the total population of Central Asia are within the Turkestan-Tashkent-Sughd oblasts. They are also strategically connected to international markets. Shymkent is in the international crossroads of Europe-East Asia and Russian Federation-Middle East, and South Asia, and Tashkent and Khujand are tourist centers. The three cities and surrounding oblasts enjoy a level of economic complementarity, particularly in agriculture and food. They also enjoy easy cross-border labor mobility facilitated by the close historical, cultural, ethnic and linguistic ties among the three countries.

Latest developments also add further momentum for economic corridor development. First, in 2018, Shymkent became a city of republican significance along with Nur-Sultan and Almaty and the Turkestan oblast was newly created. These new developments, together with existing industries and government strategies are expected to open new prospects of further development in the South Kazakhstan region. Second, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan governments have been putting big efforts to improve doing business environment through reforms. Tourism has been identified as one of the priorities in the countries’ development strategies. Third, the three governments have demonstrated strong political will at various levels to make joint efforts in enhancing regional economic cooperation.

Regional economic corridor development is gaining ground in the CAREC region. ADB’s new regional technical assistance project is assessing economic corridor development potential among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, with focus on major cities of Shymkent, Tashkent, and Khujand and surrounding oblasts of Turkestan, Tashkent and Sughd. The project is for three years and is designed in response to the request from the CAREC member countries to explore new potential economic corridor development to create business development opportunities, employment and livelihood enhancement, ADB said in a press release.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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