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Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a loan agreement to support the Astana Water Supply and Sewerage Project, totalling Y21.361bn, with the Republic of Kazakhstan . 
The proceeds of the loan will be used for procurement of materials and equipment, civil works and consulting services to rehabilitate and expand the existing water supply and sewerage facilities as well as to install water meters in Astana, the country’s new capital.
Kazakhstan is one of the five countries in Central Asia that became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1991, and has since been actively pushing forward the transition from a planned to a market economy.  Given its location bordering Russia, China and other Central Asian countries and its abundant endowment of natural resources, the country has received international attention, and the Japanese government has taken steps to strengthen relations with Kazakhstan as part of its Silk Road Diplomacy.
 2003 is International Fresh Water Year and there is growing awareness of the water problem. In the Third World Water Forum, March 2003, solving water problems was recognised as global issue, and necessity of proper fund raising to the water sector was acknowledged. Following Evian Summit in June, an Action Plan to help meet the Millennium and Johannesburg Summit goals of halving the number of people without access to clean water and sanitation by 2015 was adopted. This project will enable residents in Astana to have access to a stable supply of good quality water and sewerage services.  In addition, installing water meters will create an environment conducive to economically appropriate water usage. With the transfer of the capital in 1997, the population of Astana is intended to grow from 320 thousand in 2000 to 500 thousand in the coming decade.
Consulting services will also provide advice and transfer knowledge to Kazakhstan for the operation and maintenance of the water supply and sewerage systems through collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).  This assistance is expected to help Kazakhstan in building basic infrastructure, thereby supporting a smooth transition to a market economy.