US, Germany help improve transport and transit connections in Central Asia

ALMATY (TCA) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Germany’s GIZ international cooperation agency on January 17 co-hosted a forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan to help facilitate better regional cooperation on transport and transit. USAID’s recently launched ‘Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs in Central Asia’ activity and the GIZ ‘Support to Regional Trade in Central Asia Program’ are seeking to improve regional connectivity and increase economic growth in Central Asia.

Fifty policy advocates, private-sector partners, national railway, transport, and logistics companies, and development institutions gathered at the day-long meeting to review existing efforts to improve cross-border transport in Central Asia and prepare a joint public-private sector action plan to improve the transport and transit sectors in Central Asia.

In a region that is landlocked and geographically isolated from major international markets, it makes economic sense for Central Asian countries to improve regional transport corridors and transit connections in order to encourage greater trade and investment. Recognizing that the share of transport as a percentage of GDP, which currently varies from 5 to 15 percent across the region, could improve with better coordination, the countries in Central Asia are increasingly interested in discussions on promoting coordinated transport initiatives, USAID said in a press release.

“Today’s discussion builds on an interest in greater intra-regional and extra-regional trade as an engine of economic growth that we are seeing throughout Central Asia,” said Andrew Segars, Economic Development Office Director, at USAID/Central Asia. “Improved transport corridors will help promote deeper regional integration, stronger economic and trade ties, and improved access to world markets.”

As import tariffs are reduced over time, transport costs become an increasing share of the final value of goods and services. Competitive transport services and infrastructure that delivers goods with minimum time and cost are essential elements of sustainable economic growth and the development of the region as a transit hub connecting global markets.

USAID’s Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs in Central Asia program was launched to facilitate exports and employment in horticulture and strengthen transport and logistics services across the five Central Asian economies. By incentivizing firms to become more regionally competitive and by addressing cross-border impediments to trade, USAID helps to develop a more diverse and competitive private sector and generate export-driven growth.

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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