The United States administration intends to allocate $25 million for regional programs within the framework of the Economic Resilience Initiative in Central Asia (ERICEN), the US Department of State said in its Tuesday press release.
The statement noted that the initiative, established in September 2022, is aimed at stimulating economic growth in the region. The US, through it, directed $25 million in fiscal year 2022 (which ended last September 30) to “diversify trade routes, expand investment in the region, and increase employment opportunities,” according to the statement.
“Working with Congress, the United States intends to add $20 million in FY 2023 funding to expand programming under ERICEN. The United States is also planning to provide $5 million to support regional connectivity through economic and energy programs, for a total of $50 million in regional programs,” the State Department said in the statement.
The funds will be used to expand trade routes, enhance infrastructure along Trans-Caspian trade routes, strengthen the private sector, facilitate the movement of Western multinational companies to Central Asia, expand English-language training programs for young professionals throughout the region, and to train the region’s workforce in entrepreneurship and skills in high demand.
On Tuesday, Kazakhstan’s Astana hosted a C5+1 ministerial meeting of foreign ministers of Central Asian countries and the US. The meeting discussed a wide range of issues, including cooperation on food security, combating terrorism, energy and environment. On the margins of the meeting, the US State Secretary Antony Blinken also held separate meetings with his Central Asian counterparts, including Rashid Meredov.