* International aid to help finance $13 bln national growth
* Hard-up Kyrgyzstan heavily hinges on Centerra Gold venture
* Powerful clans defy central government
By Olga Dzyubenko
BISHKEK, July 10 International donors and
lenders promised over $1.7 billion in grants and loans on
Wednesday to support reforms in Central Asian state Kyrgyzstan
over the next five years as it struggles to alleviate poverty
after a period of political upheaval.
The mainly Muslim nation of 5.5 million, which hosts both
U.S. and Russian military air bases, has seen two presidents
deposed by popular revolts since 2005, and has also been hit by
cuts and conflict at a gold mine that previously accounted for
as much as 12 percent of gross domestic product.
Attending a conference in the capital Bishkek, delegations
from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian
Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the European
Union and the United Nations promised the cash in an unspecified
mixture of loans and grants.
"It is estimated that International Development Partners
have resources of over $2 billion available for new projects to
support the Kyrgyz Republic over the period of the National
Sustainable Development Strategy 2013-2017, which would
contribute to disbursements of over $1.7 billion over the same
period," the donor states and lenders said in a statement.
"However, turning these potential resources into successful
projects and real improvements for ordinary people will require
strong policies and efficient institutions."
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled a popular uprising and
hundreds were killed in ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan's south in
2010. International donors pledged at the time to disburse $1.1
billion until 2013 to help rebuild the strategic nation.
Government data show the country has received around $940
million of this amount, and the further investment will go into
a areas ranging from energy and agriculture to health,
education, transport and water supplies.
With per capita GDP just a tenth of that in oil-rich
neighbour Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan unveiled its five-year $13
billion growth plan in January, aiming to double the size of the
economy largely from foreign investment and aid.
In the short-term it has faced problems with the operation
of its flagship Kumtor gold mine, where Canada's Centerra Gold
cut output last year and is now embroiled in a row with
the government, which is seeking to redraw financial agreements
signed with the investor under former President Bakiyev.
The mine's operations have also been briefly suspended
recently amid demands and protests from local residents' groups
over jobs and benefits.
President Almazbek Atambayev blamed local clans for wrecking
a benchmark auction of Jerooy, the country's second-largest gold
deposit, whose sale had been officially designed to give a
positive signal to hesitant investors.
Still, the economy, having shrunk by 0.9 percent in 2012
after Centerra sharply cut output due to ice movement in the
open-pit mine, is forecast to rebound to 7-percent growth this
(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Patrick Graham)