Kyzylorda, May 31, 2011 – As part of her official visit to Kazakhstan, Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank visited Kyzylorda oblast to observe the current status of the construction of the Western Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor that is co-financed by the World Bank through the South West Roads Project. The visit included meetings with senior government officials and local authorities, as well as the project management team.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communication Azat Bekturov, and Akim of Kyzylorda oblast Bolatbek Kuandykov, and discussed with them the current results with regards to civil works, road management, road safety and services, institutional program reform, and prospects for further cooperation between the Government and the World Bank in the transport sector.
“The upgrading of this key infrastructure is already demonstrating that it can act as a major stimulus to the economy by creating employment, supporting more efficient movements of goods and people, improving road safety and boosting industrial, agricultural, and commercial activities, along this road steeped in history,” said Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during her trip.
The objective of the South West Roads Project is to increase transport and trade efficiency along the road between Aktobe/Kyzylorda oblast border and Shymkent, while at the same time ensuring that measures are taken to mitigate the impacts of the project on the people and environment in the area. The project also aims at improving road management and traffic safety along the corridor.
The Project comes as a result of the decision made by the Government to upgrade one of its major corridors. The plan is to improve the transit along the 2,800 km linking Europe and Russia to China through the Southern and Western parts of the country. The World Bank finances the rehabilitation of the road sections in Kyzylorda oblast and South Kazakhstan oblast through a loan in the amount of US$ 2.125 billion.
The cooperation between the Bank, other international financial institutions, and the various ministries involved is contributing to a successful project implementation. All 21 civil works contracts envisaged under the Project in Kyzylorda and the South Kazakhstan oblasts are awarded. The construction works in Kyzylorda oblast are well advanced with an unprecedented number of road machinery, asphalt plants, aggregate crushing units and rail cars functioning in parallel.
Meanwhile, contractors in the South Kazakhstan oblast have also deployed and works started in April this year.
"The Project is now in its second year of implementation and is progressing very well,” added Ms. Okonjo-Iweala. “The impact on the construction industry and employment in southern Kazakhstan is very visible: the Project created about 30,000 new jobs and will generate substantial indirect benefits to most of the population in Kyzylorda and South Kazakhstan Oblasts. Expected improved road safety, faster connection with regional centers, and better access to markets, healthcare, and education would benefit over 25 percent of population of Kazakhstan who live this region.”
The World Bank’s overall mission in Kazakhstan is to help the Government in achieving diversified and sustainable economic growth and improving the living standards of population. To date, the Bank has provided 37 loans to Kazakhstan with the total amount of over US$ 5.5 billion.