The Asian Development Bank will offer $700 million to Kazakhstan help improve parts of the ancient Silk Road and bolster trade between Asia and Europe, the bank said on Thursday.
Wedged between China and the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan is keen to revive its role as a major hub on the ancient trade route that once carried marvels of the orient such as tea and silk from Central Asia to the distant markets in Europe. Now the region’s biggest oil exporter, Kazakhstan wants a more efficient road network to integrate into global trade.
“This new silk road will boost trade between Beijing and Brussels, and create extraordinary economic opportunities for the people of Kazakhstan and their neighbors,” ADB said in a statement. It said it was extending $700 million to Kazakhstan to help improve a 2,715 km road from the city of Khorgos on Kazakhstan’s border with China to Kazakhstan’s western border with Russia.
Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country, currently relies on other countries such as Russia for its oil, metals and other goods to reach markets in Europe and beyond. It added the project could boost Kazakhstan’s economy by 68% above the 2010 baseline by 2020, but did not say what its calculations were based on. The current size of the Kazakh economy is about $100 billion. (Reuters)