Russia has provided millions of dollars for economic and humanitarian aid in Central Asia, State Secretary/Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin told Rossiyskaya Gazetain an interview.
According to him, Central Asia is the most significant region for Russia. “They [Central Asia’s nations]” are not just our neighbors, they are our strategic partners and old friends,” Karasin noted.
According to him, more than 75,000 students from the CIS nations studied at higher educational institutions in Russia in 2015-2016. More than 55,000 of them are students from Central Asia.
“Russia is able to create a high-quality competitive “export humanitarian product.” Russian education is an example of this,” Russian official said, noting that Russia allocates 100 million U.S. dollars per year for training students from the CIS member nations.
Russia provides humanitarian aid to some Central Asia’s nations. Over the period from 2008 to 2015, Russia reportedly provided US$6.7 billion worth of humanitarian aid dollars to the Central Asian countries, especially to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Major part of these funds has been provided directly, Russian official noted.
Russia also provides assistance to Central Asia’s nations through multilateral channels, including the UN World Food Program (WFP).
During the period from 2013 to 2015, Moscow provided 55 million U.S. dollars to the UN WFP, Karasin said. Of this amount, 33 million U.S. dollars were spent for purchase and delivery of Russia food products (wheat flour, peas) and 22 million U.S. dollars were spent for development of sustainable school meals program.
“In 2016, we plan to provide US$10 million worth of food assistance through UN WFP,” Russian deputy foreign minister.
We will recall that the Russian Federation has been a major donor to WFP Tajikistan’s school meals program since 2005 and actively supports the current transition process that will eventually leave the program’s management with the government.
Karasin noted that Russian regions were currently working on launching education programs aimed at developing vocational competence of the Russian language teachers from the Central Asian countries.
Meanwhile, the United States has also increased aid for Central Asia’s nations. EurasiaNet.org reports that speaking at a congressional hearing last week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Daniel Rosenblum highlighted increases in State Department aid for all five Central Asian republics. The proposed aid budget for fiscal year 2017 is $51.8 million for Kyrgyzstan, a 39 percent increase from last year; $41.6 million for Tajikistan (a 44 percent increase); $11.6 million for Uzbekistan (a nine percent increase); $8.8 million for Kazakhstan (a five percent increase); and $4.8 million for Turkmenistan (a 43 percent increase). The aid seems to be most heavily focused on job creation and good governance.
Source : Asia-Plus