The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $162 million loan that will electrify 465 kilometers of railway line connecting major urban centers in western Uzbekistan, improving railway services and boosting trade and tourism in the region.
The project will electrify the track linking Bukhara, Miskin, Urgench, and Khiva—a UNESCO world heritage site in Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region, the ADB said in a statement.
ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov said that reliable and safe transport infrastructure is a “key driver of economic growth”, particularly in double landlocked Uzbekistan.
“ADB’s project will help create an economic corridor linking the heritage-rich Khorezm region to the rest of Uzbekistan, supporting the recovery in tourism from COVID-19, and further establishing the country as a regional transit hub,” he added.
The project is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor 2, which links China to Europe via Central Asia, the statement said. It will also help improve Uzbekistan’s connectivity and trade with neighboring countries, it said.
ADB Director of Transport and Communications for Central and West Asia Hideaki Iwasaki, said these projects would have several beneficial impacts on agriculture, industry, and tourism as well.
“It will also support Uzbekistan’s shift to low-carbon transportation by enabling the railway line’s switch from diesel traction to electricity, supporting the country’s efforts to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement,” he added.
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