Dushanbe, June 27, 2018 – Residents of Sughd Oblast and other parts of Tajikistan will have greater access to foreign markets, while new trade and job opportunities will boost development of the private sector, thanks to major improvements to road sections in the Fergana Valley, which links Tajikistan to neighboring Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Several of these new cross-border road sections, rehabilitated with support from the World Bank’s Central Asia Regional Links Project (CARs-2), were officially opened today by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Tajikistan, Khudoyorzoda Khudoyor, and the World Bank’s Country Manager for Tajikistan, Jan-Peter Olters.
“After decades of isolation caused by closed borders, Tajikistan now finds itself at the center of commercial routes linking Central, East, and South Asia”, said Jan-Peter Olters. “Through investments in the regional transport infrastructure and a renewed focus on trade facilitation, modern customs processes, and an improved business climate, Tajikistan and its neighbors are in the process of putting ‘Central’ back into – a potentially more prosperous – Central Asia.”
The Central Asia Road Links (CARs) Program is a collaborative regional and multi-phase program initiated by the Governments of Central Asia. The program aims to increase transport connectivity among neighboring countries, while supporting improvements in road operations and maintenance practices.
The first phase of CARs, covering the Kyrgyz Republic, has focused on the rehabilitation of cross-border road links bordering Tajikistan, in Batken Oblast, while the second one has focused on the rehabilitation of approximately 70 kilometers of cross-border road sections in Sughd Oblast, connecting Tajikistan’s road network with that of Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The rehabilitated road sections under CARs-2 include the border crossing along the following routes: Kuchkak-Kim-Isfara-Guliston (45.1 km), Dehmoi-Proletarsk-Madaniyat (16.9 km), including a link to the intermodal rail terminal in Proletarsk, and Kanibadam-Patar (5.7 km).
“Regional integration is Central Asia’s most important objective, and transport infrastructure is its backbone. Tajikistan is Central Asia’s least connected, most isolated country, where road transport is often the only option given the alpine topography and relatively small rail network,” said Cordula Rastogi, CARs-2 Project Team Leader. “By financing the rehabilitation of cross-border road links in Sughd Oblast, which account for 40 percent of the country’s overall freight turnover, the project expands opportunities for trade and increases the competitiveness of domestic products, thus resulting in private sector growth and job creation.”
In addition to road infrastructure improvements, the project supports the Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan in making improvements to road operations and asset management practices, and supports the development of a Transport Sector Development Strategy up to 2050. The project pilots an innovative solution for high-volume vehicle weighing (weigh-in-motion system), which will help to reduce the number of overweight vehicles and contribute to safer and more efficient operation of trucks.
The CARs-2 project is financed by the World Bank in the amount of US$45 million, consisting of US$38 million provided as a highly concessional credit and US$7 million as grant. The Government of Tajikistan provides co-financing in the amount of US$9 million. This project is complementary to an ongoing project financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which provides road maintenance equipment to, among others, to the Sughd Oblast.
This year, Tajikistan and the World Bank Group mark 25 years of membership and collaboration. During this time, the World Bank provided over US$1.4 billion in IDA grants, highly concessional credits and trust funds to Tajikistan. The World Bank Group is committed to continuing its support to the country, as it strives to improve the lives and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.