World Bank to lend Kazakhstan $2.125bn for road upgrade project


June 16, 2009

The Kazakh government has signed a $ 2.125bn loan agreement with the World Bank to fund the Kazakhstan South-West Roads Project.

The project involves the upgrade of a 1,062 km stretch of the international trade corridor linking China to Russia and Western Europe through Kazakhstan. The road section stretches from the border between Aktobe and Kyzylorda oblasts, and the city of Shymkent in South Kazakhstan. It is also intended to improve road management and traffic safety in Kazakhstan.

According to the World Bank, in addition to Kazakhstan, there will also be benefits for the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Fully modernized road will offer high quality transportation services to freighters and we expect that traffic along the newly reconstructed corridor will increase significantly because this route is 3,000 km shorter than any other transport corridor connecting Europe and China, said Shigeo Katsu, World Bank vice-president for Europe and Central Asia in a statement. The project will also have significant positive social impacts by creating new jobs and helping local communities with better access to health and education services.

The loan has a maturity of 25 years including 5 year grace period. The agreement is expected to be ratified by the Kazakh parliament in September 2009, and that the first construction contracts will be issued in late autumn this year.