(Read full article on rferl.org)
Kyrgyz officials say they have signed a contract with foreign investors to start building an “eco-city” near the picturesque shores of Lake Issyk-Kul in the country’s north, despite concerns the multibillion-dollar project could harm the environment.
The head of the Asman Eco-City of the Future project, Ruslan Akmataliev, said three French companies — Finentrep Aspir, MEDEF, and Mercuroo — had pledged to invest about $5 billion for the first phase of the ambitious $20 billion project. He said the contract was signed by Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and the representatives of the firms on April 12, but didn’t provide many details.
The project was first presented by Japarov’s government in July as a sustainable city that will become an economic and tourist center with an advanced educational system, state-of-the-art business center, banks, sports arenas, and high-tech parks. It will also include modern health-care facilities to develop medical tourism.
The city will mostly rely on alternative energy sources and will use environmentally friendly models of transport to comply with the principles of a green economy, according to the president’s office.