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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT:  Donna Thiessen 

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USTDA LAUNCHES Central Asian 

Infrastructure Integration Initiative

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (October 14, 2005) Yesterday, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) launched a Central Asian Infrastructure Integration Initiative designed to facilitate the development of needed infrastructure to foster regional cooperation and economic development though trade in Central Asia.  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice unveiled the Initiative during her visit to the region this week.

 

“Recognizing that trade and investment are essential catalysts for development, this Initiative is designed to strengthen the environment for economic growth in Central Asia,” said USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey.  “In particular, the Initiative will target activities in the areas of energy, transportation, and communications that promote cooperation among the countries in the region and their integration into the global economy.”

 

The USTDA-sponsored Initiative, valued at $1 million, will involve Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.  Other countries may be invited to participate in the future.

 

This fall, teams of technical experts will visit Central Asia to identify specific regional infrastructure projects and recommend follow-on activities that can be funded under the Initiative.  Possible activities include trade capacity-building technical assistance, training, and feasibility studies. 

 

Already, USTDA is planning the first major activity under the Initiative, a conference on regional energy development, to be held in the spring.  This regional electric power cooperation conference will focus on the potential for developing the rich hydropower resources of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and transmitting the power to Afghanistan and ultimately Pakistan. 

 

In coordinating the Initiative, USTDA will work closely with the Departments of State and Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  In addition, USTDA will coordinate with other donors, such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, and U.S. private sector firms that can contribute their expertise and technology, as well as capital, to this effort.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

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