bneGREEN: Japarov wants Kyrgyzstan’s $4.2bn external debt ploughed into building green economy

bneGREEN: Japarov wants Kyrgyzstan’s $4.2bn external debt ploughed into building green economy
Japarov spoke on the eve of an announcement of an agreement between Abu Dhabi's Masdar and Kyrgyzstan for a portfolio of projects that will deliver 1 GW of clean power. / Masdar.
By Aida Kadyrzhanova in Almaty January 10, 2023

Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov has appealed to international partners and financial development institutions to help his impoverished country transition to a green economy by ploughing its external debt of around $4.2bn into green initiatives.

In remarks posted by Japarov on social media, reported by AKIPress on January 9, he said: "It would be good, if the funds envisioned for the repayment of the external debt were directed for support of green initiatives. But we do not say that these projects will be financed solely by donors and partners. We are also ready to make a contribution and carry out these projects.

"Of course, we comply and will comply with all our external debt obligations, we have all possibilities for that. We just raise the initiative on the development of the green economy and a joint contribution to improve the environmental situation in the world."

Japarov added: "The countries and financial institutions, from which Kyrgyzstan borrowed funding, could participate in the construction of hydropower plants in the country. We will hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies at those green economy sites together. We will realise green projects in Kyrgyzstan and will get our external debts written off in exchange.”

Japarov described the problem of the black blankets of smog caused by the burning of coal that afflict the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek as a significant issue, particularly in the autumn and winter when coal burning exacerbates the problem.

The president’s appeal for the redirecting of debt repayment came on the eve of an announcement that Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy player Masdar has entered into an agreement with Kyrgyzstan to develop a portfolio of projects with the goal of delivering 1 GW of clean power to the national grid.

Japarov pointed to Kyrgyzstan's untapped hydropower potential, noting that the country currently used only 10% of its potential hydropower resources and must import electricity in the winter.

If Kyrgyzstan finds itself unable to deliver multiple renewable energy projects to meet its relentless growth in electricity demand, the country could attempt to solve its problems with small nuclear reactors. At the recent ATOMEXPO-2022 international forum in the southern Russian city of Sochi, representatives from the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry agreed to Russia’s Rosatom conducting a feasibility study on installing such a nuclear reactor in Kyrgyzstan.  

Japarov, however, highlighted the construction of small and medium sized hydropower plants (HPPs) in the country over the past two years and the potential for international collaboration in the construction of more HPPs. 

The construction of 50 small and medium sized HPPs is presently under way in Kyrgyzstan. Also, the building of the long-awaited Kambar-Ata-1 HPP, a prospective flagship of the national economy, has started. However, Kyrgyz officials are clear that the HPP project activity is still far from sufficient. There are ready investment projects available that would allow for the construction of HPPs with various capacities ranging up to 1,000 MW, they point out. Required dam sites for these projects were ready, according to Japarov. 

Kyrgyzstan, the president concluded, wished to become an energy-independent and ecologically conscious country.