Foreign Policy Blogs

Economic Crisis + Amazing Race = Central Asia Bonanza!

Who's an economics expert? Who knows how to solve the world's current financial crisis? Was that Kazakhstan on the ‘Amazing Race‘? Answers: Not me, probably no one, and yes, Nick and Starr are unbeatable!

images.jpgWith the leaders of most of the world's economies attending an international summit to try and combat the current economic downturn and create systems which will hopefully make future worldwide recession less likely, it is more than appropriate to discuss Central Asia's financial predicament. Last week, I discussed measures Kazakhstan was taking in order to stabilize its economy, and how if successful it would hopefully bring this attribute to the whole region, but what about the other states? How are Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan performing economically? What are their financial prospects in the near future? What policies and actions should be taken?

First off, positive news, as the latest IMF Regional Outlook for the region sees higher rates of growth compared to the rest of the globe. The report's director had this quite bright assessment of both the Middle Eastern and Central Asian regions:

“{They} continue to experience strong growth in 2008, outpacing global growth for the ninth year in a row. Growth is underpinned by high commodity prices, strong domestic demand, and also credibility of the authorities’ economic policies. So far, the Middle East and Central Asia region has been largely resilient to the ongoing international credit crisis and the downturn in the US and other advanced economies. However, inflation has emerged as a key issue in the region, and is well above the average of all developing and emerging market countries.”
And now before I start talking about money matters that are better left to experts, here are some nice pieces covering the current crisis:

The Economist: ‘After the Boom: Central Asia and the Credit Crisis

Eurasia.net: Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Confront a Financial Disaster

And a couple more covering just Kazakhstan (it was on Amazing Race after all)

Eurasia.net: Kazakhstan: Astana Working Out Details on Economic Stabilization Plan

Lastly, the Asian Development Bank announced that it is providing Kazakhstan with a $700 million dollar loan to improve remnants of the old Silk Road and to promote trade with Europe.

While I hope these short reports helped us all get a better look of how the world wide economic downturn is effecting Central Asia.  This will definitely be a story worth following as it truly touches the lives of everyone involved. I’ll leave you with this ‘Amazing Race’ photo, you can see Almaty, Kazakhstan in the background if you look really hard.
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Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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