BEIJING, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program has played a key role in promoting economic cooperation among countries in the Central Asian region, an expert said Sunday.
"The CAREC program has helped boost its members' development by promoting regional cooperation in four priority areas, including transport, energy, trade facilitation and trade policy," Sun Zhuangzhi, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview with Xinhua.
Sun spoke highly of CAREC's investment in the development of transport corridors that link Central Asia to both ends of the Eurasian continent.
Transport corridors established across the Central Asian region will improve trade flow between developed West Europe and fast-developing East Asia, link Central Asia with Europe and China, and attract more investment to the region to boost its economic development, he said.
CAREC also seeks to promote regional cooperation in energy, trade facilitation and trade policy.
Statistics show that CAREC launched more than 100 projects from 2001 to 2010, with investment amounting to 15 billion U.S. dollars.
According to the CAREC 2020 Strategy, its members will receive billions of U.S. dollars in financial aid to develop regional transport networks, boost regional trade and help secure reliable and efficient energy.
Sun said regional cooperation will give impetus to economic growth in CAREC members, boost employment and improve livelihoods.
He suggested the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the initiator of the CAREC program, cooperate with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to better promote Central Asia's development.
The CAREC program, initiated by ADB in 1997, includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
CAREC's 11th Ministerial Conference will be held from Oct. 29 to 30 in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.