Saudi ECA offers support for TAPI pipeline

(EurasiaNet, New York, 14 January 2020) Turkmenistan's state media reported that the president had signed a decree authorizing the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs to conclude a loan with the Saudi Development Fund for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, pipeline. This is only the latest offer of assistance from Riyadh. Documents seen by Eurasianet reveal that the Saudi-backed Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit, or ICIEC, has committed to $500 million in financing for the project. The ICIEC is a member of the Saudi-led investment fund, the Islamic Development Bank, or IDB, which has offered as much as $1 billion in financing for TAPI. Even all this Saudi money may not be sufficient to cover the ultimate cost of TAPI, which has been estimated at anywhere between $7.5 billion and $10 billion. The security situation along TAPI’s route is not the only thing spooking lenders. Turkmenistan’s endemic nepotism and corruption is also a disincentive.