Nine Central and West Asian countries signed a declaration on cooperation and reforms in the energy sector, signaling a new step towards the creation of a regional energy market.
The declaration was signed in Tashkent on Saturday by the energy ministers of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries. CAREC includes nine Asian states – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
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"These countries have signed a landmark statement that will accelerate cross-border cooperation on energy issues and bring the region closer to creating a regional energy market," said Tatyana Evstifeeva, spokeswoman for the Asian Development Bank (DB) in Dushanbe. AfDB operates as the CAREC secretariat. Evstifeeva noted that the statement puts the region on a "faster path of reform", which would lead to more liberal energy markets with greater private sector participation and investment.
Ministers also approved a new CAREC energy strategy for the next 10 years, which will serve as a roadmap for achieving the region's goal of a secure energy future.
“The energy sector stimulates the region's economic growth, which is why this statement is so important. Today they have reinforced their commitment to work together to ensure a reliable and affordable energy supply in the region, develop modern energy markets and use clean energy as the most efficient and sustainable energy source, ”said ADB Vice President Divakar Gupta.
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Some CAREC countries continue to face energy shortages. To ensure continued economic growth and meet growing energy demand, the region needs to double its current power system capacity by 2030. This will require significant investments, estimated at about $ 400 billion.
Since its inception in 2001, nearly 200 regional projects have been funded under the CAREC program for a total of $ 34.5 billion in the transport, energy and trade sectors. More than a third of this amount was funded by the ADB.
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