Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$ 121 million loan to Uzbekistan to complete the modernization of the Railway Network in its Eastern Regions.

The loan is an addition to ADB’s US$ 80 million financing approved in 2017 to help electrify 145.1 km of railway track between the cities of Pap, Namangan and Andijan in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan, the bank said.

Noting that the loan will help stimulate economic growth in the densely populated Fergana Valley and improve trade and regional connectivity, the ADB said the continued support will help ensure the safe and more frequent operation of trains on the modernized railway network.

“The project will enhance the attractiveness of railways as an environmentally friendly, reliable and affordable mode of transport for the people of Uzbekistan,” ADB Principal Transport Specialist for Central and West Asia Ko Sakamoto said.

The modernization of the Eastern Uzbekistan Railway Network is also expected to boost tourism and trade between Uzbekistan and its neighbours, as it is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program’s Corridor 2.

Uzbekistan’s Railway link in Fergana Valley is also considered as a vital part of the proposed China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Project.

The CAREC Program, established in 1997 by the ADB, is a program to encourage economic cooperation among countries in the Central Asian Region.