The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed Memorandums of Understanding totaling 1.47 billion euros with the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan to create the Trans-Caspian Multimodal Transport Corridor, aiming to connect Europe with Central Asia. Tajikistan abstained from signing this preliminary agreement, Asia Plus reports.
The signing took place in late January 2024 in Brussels during the EU + Central Asia Transport Corridor Investors Forum within the EU's "Global Gateway" strategy, revealed Tajikistan's Minister of Transport, Azim Ibrohim.
During the three-day forum, European and international financial institutions, under the guarantee of the European Commission, offered Central Asian countries 10 billion euros "for the development of sustainable transportation between the European Union and Central Asia."
"The invasion of Russia into Ukraine has underscored the urgent need to find alternative reliable and efficient trade routes between Europe and Asia, bypassing Russia," stated Valdis Dombrovskis, the Acting Vice President of the European Commission, at the forum.
Meanwhile, according to the Tajik Minister of Transport, Tajikistan refrained from signing the preliminary agreement for the mentioned transport corridor, stating that the country is examining the details and feasibility of taking on loans.
"We said that we need to study the conditions for granting these loans," said the minister.
Tajikistan is interested in obtaining grants or highly concessional loans to avoid repayment difficulties later, according to the head of the Tajik Ministry of Transport.
It is expected that the proposed multimodal corridor will connect Central Asian countries with Europe through the South Caucasus and Turkey.
February 9, 2024