Germany eyes EU financing for more rail with Central Asia
Germany and Central Asian countries are amid attempts to strengthen their trade cooperation and possibly increase rail connections. A few days ago, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with the heads of five Central Asian countries, and the financing of infrastructure projects and other forms of synergies were discussed extensively.
One of the highlights of the meeting between Scholz and the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan was the financing of Middle Corridor infrastructure projects under the Global Gateway initiative. There was an agreement that the parties would try to attract investments from Europe’s international financing tool and utilise them for better connectivity between Central Asia and Central Europe.
What these projects would be remains unclear. International institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have found that links between the two regions are feasible given the needed investments, which have also been partially or fully identified. Nevertheless, the fact that the EU’s Global Gateway initiative was extensively mentioned in the talks could signal that Germany is determined to channel EU money towards the region, considering that the country is also in the process of diversifying its supply chains and Central Asian markets will have a central role in this process.
It comes as no surprise, thus, that during the high-level meeting’s sidelines, Germany and Kazakhstan extended their existing cooperation with their eyes turned to the future. Specifically, DB Engineering & Consulting, a DB subsidiary, will keep working closely with Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) and provide consultancy services for three more years. This partnership aims to identify the best practices to boost rail freight services between Germany and Kazakhstan, increase rail-borne volumes, and integrate KTZ into European railway standards.
European Silk Road Summit
The discussion of the Middle Corridor and its relation with the Silk Road will be extended to the European Silk Road Summit 2023. The 7th edition of the European Silk Road Summit 2023 will be held on 29-30 November and 1 December 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. Interested in joining the panel discussion with KTZ? Click here for more information.