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The ‘Stans’: What Now – part three

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World Cement,

Aggregates: increased demand

Eugene Gerden in Aggregates Business International (May/June 2016), writes: “Due to the decline of oil prices and a significant deterioration of the business environment, imports of aggregates from Russia and China are no longer profitable for the majority of the five republics.” In Kazakhstan, the government plans to invest up to €133.5 million in boosting the output of the existing Altyn TAS Myrzabek production plant in the Mangistau region. Its total reserves are estimated at 96 million m3 with a life span of 40 years. The expansion of the plant is part of the state programme known as the country’s Affordable Housing 2020 project that will see the commissioning of 7 million m3 of new housing.

The prime minister of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirzijaev, also wants to see his country’s aggregate business expand. He is quoted as saying “up to US$436 million will be allocated for the development of the Uzbek aggregates industry during the next few years, with a large chunk of the funds set to be invested in the increase in production of crushed stone and sand.” At the same time, Kyrgystan’s government has begun the provision of licences for the development of the country’s largest aggregate fields.

Investment news

In November 2014, Kazakhstan’ President Nursultan Nazurbayer announced a US$9 billion domestic stimulus programme, ‘Nurly Zhol’, to develop and modernise roads, railways, ports, IT infrstructure, education and civil services. With oil prices rebounding this is expected to buttress industrial development and stimulate investment.

While China is investing heavily in Central Asia, the European institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are actively playing their part. The EBRD has been involved in Kazakhstan for the past 20 years and is now the largest foreign investor outside of the oil and gas sector with investments exceeding US$7.2 billion. In 2015 the EBRD, together with other financial institutions, signed the so-called Enhanced Partnership Arrangement with the Kazakhstani government. Janet Heckman, Country Director of EBRD for Kazakhstan, said that the government had allocated US$2.7 billion for co-financing with the EBRD and other international institutions. Some US$1 billion in investments was expected by the end of the year. Active projects currently being worked on include agribusiness, manufacturing, industry, minerals and mining, oil and gas, pharmaceutical sectors, financial institutions and SME’s as well as municipal infrastructure.

In June of this year, the EBRD and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a joint project that will see the two banks commit a total of US$55 million on the upgrading of a key section of the motorway that connects Tajikistan with neighbouring Uzbekistan.

This is part three of a three-part article written for World Cement’s December issue and abridged for the website. Subscribers can read the full December issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the December 2016 issue here.

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