Kazakhstan and EBRD prioritize green economy, digitization, infrastructure and cooperative connectivity development
NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) prioritize green economy, digitization, infrastructure and connectivity development, said EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso, during a press conference on September 23 in Nur-Sultan.
One of the priorities identified by the EBRD and Kazakhstan is the contribution to the development of the green economy.
“The first and most important is the greening of the economy. As you know, Kazakhstan is a country heavily dependent on coal. The President (Kazakh) declared that the goal for the country is to reach net zero emissions by 2060. It is very important to define the way forward… to achieve this goal, ”said Renaud-Basso.
According to EBRD Managing Director Zsuzsanna Hargitai, the bank also plans to cooperate with local and international business partners to increase investment in the renewable energy sector. The EBRD’s annual investment in the sector is expected to be around $ 400-600 million.
The other priority is to develop regional connectivity in Kazakhstan and Central Asia by supporting major road projects. A loan of up to $ 240 million to the state-owned road company KazAvtoZhol will finance the reconstruction of a 204-kilometer section of road between the towns of Kyzylorda and Zhezkazgan and the construction of a 14-mile bypass road. , 8 kilometers around Kyzylorda. The road will improve the transport of passengers and goods along the strategic road E123, which connects western China with the Urals region in Russia.
“At the EBRD, we believe that improved connectivity will provide new opportunities for both Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It is important for the country to create the right transport infrastructure to stimulate economic integration and post-Covid-19 recovery, ”the president said.
The funds, which rebuild about half of the road between the two towns, will be disbursed in the local currency, the tenge. The Asian Development Bank will finance the reconstruction of the remaining road section.
The development of the local infrastructure of cities across Kazakhstan is also one of the priorities of the work between the bank and the country. The infrastructure covers, but is not limited to, waste and water management, transport and heating. In addition to projects at various scales across Kazakhstan, the EBRD is focusing on the cities of Almaty, Semei, Oskemen and Shymkent under the Green Cities program.
The last major priority area is digitization which includes support for the private sector, in particular SMEs.
“The country is very well equipped. I understand it has the strongest broadband coverage in the area. This therefore gives a lot of potential for digitization, ”said Renaud-Basso.
In March 2021, Kazakhstan and the EBRD signed the third five-year Enhanced Partnership Framework Agreement to support the development of the country’s economy in the aforementioned areas and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, the EBRD has invested more than $ 8.4 billion in the economy of Kazakhstan through 290 projects.
“One of the specificities of the EBRD is to focus on the private sector. This is what we will continue to do. Support all activities of the target sector, whether SMEs, but also PPP (Public-Private Partnership) for infrastructure projects, etc. », Declared the president.
This is Renaud-Basso’s first visit to Kazakhstan which is scheduled for September 22-25. At the time of the press conference, she had already met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister Askar Mamin and other Kazakh authorities and partners. In addition, the EBRD President plans to meet with representatives of Kazakh small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and members of civil society to discuss green economy, digitization and gender issues in Kazakhstan.
“There is one very important thing unrelated to funding, in terms of policy reform. We are working with the government to lift legal restrictions for 100 professions that women could not access, ”said Renaud-Basso.