U.S. intends to allocate $25 million in economic aid to Central Asian countries
The U.S. administration intends to allocate $25 million for regional programs within the framework of the Economic Sustainability Initiative in Central Asia (ERICEN).
Established in September 2022, the initiative aims to stimulate economic growth in the region. Washington, through it, has directed $25 million in fiscal year 2022 to “diversify trade routes, attract investment to the region and expand employment opportunities,” the foreign ministry added.
Working with Congress, the U.S. administration intends to add $20 million in fiscal year 2023 to expand programs under ERICEN. The United States also plans to allocate $5 million to support regional engagement through economic and energy programs, for a total of $50 million for regional programs.
The funds will be used to expand trade routes, develop infrastructure along trans-Caspian trade routes, strengthen the private sector, “help attract Western multinational companies to Central Asia,” expand English-language training programs for young professionals throughout the region, and “teach the most in-demand skills, such as truck driving.”
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met Tuesday in Astana with foreign ministers from several countries in the region on the sidelines of the C5+1 ministerial meeting, a multilateral mechanism for cooperation among the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and the United States.
For example, during his talks with Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, the U.S. diplomatic chief “discussed cooperation on climate change, security, and economic growth initiatives,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a written statement. In a conversation with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirodjiddin Mukhriddin, Blinken “reiterated the need for close cooperation on issues related to Afghanistan.”
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