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Central Asia 2050
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Central Asia 2050
Unleashing the Region’s Potential

  • Rajat M Nag - Distinguished Fellow, India’s National Council of Applied Economic Research, Delhi
  • Johannes F. Linn - Distinguished Resident Scholar, Emerging Markets Forum
  • Harinder S. Kohli - Emerging Markets Forum and Centennial Group Holdings, Washington DC, USA

August 2017 | 372 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

An ancient land, Central Asia occupies a geostrategically critical place at the heart of Eurasia, bridging the vast continental space that is Europe and Asia.

Central Asia today faces great opportunities as well as daunting challenges. The principal message of this book is that the region has significant potential and a unique opportunity to accelerate its economic and social development.

A major lesson for the future from Central Asians’ past is that they thrived most when they were open to the world and to each other in terms of trade, investment, and bold thought, with a commitment to intellectual and religious pluralism and tolerance.

The book articulates an aspirational vision for 2050. Under this vision, the region will have achieved widespread prosperity such that by 2050, a vast majority of Central Asians will be middle class with commensurate income and quality of life. Social, institutional, and governance indicators will have improved in tandem and reached at least the level of South Korea and Central Europe today.

No doubt, Central Asia will face many challenges: as individual countries and as a region. However, challenges also represent opportunities. The book identifies several of these in specific areas, including the efficient development of the energy and agriculture sectors; developing modern manufacturing and service industries that are well integrated into global supply chains; fostering inclusive human development; mitigating and adapting to climate change; integrating with global and regional markets; and improving governance and institutions. A particular challenge, cutting across all others, is how Central Asia manages its increasingly scarce and critical water resources.

Achieving the ambitious aspirational Vision 2050 is plausible, though by no means pre-ordained. Many of the policy and institutional reforms noted in this book will not come easy and take time to design and implement. Regional leaders, individually and collectively, will need to pursue them with a sense of commitment and urgency.


 
Foreword
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
 
The setting
 
The study
 
Structure of the study
 
In search of a usable past 9 Introduction
 
Colonial times and post-colonial travails
 
The “khanate period”—fragmentation and thwarted development
 
An ancient and prosperous land–Central Asia’s “Golden Age”
 
Geography as destiny
 
The language factor, ethnicity, and religion
 
The waning of Central Asia’s Golden Age
 
Central Asia’s cautionary lessons from a usable past
 
Prospects for convergence
 
Recent economic performance and the drivers of long-run growth
 
Introduction
 
Economic developments in Central Asia
 
Building a credible macroeconomic framework
 
Technological change
 
Globalization and Connectedness
 
Demography
 
Climate change mitigation
 
Institutions
 
Conclusion
 
Vision 2050—Alternative scenarios and strategic framework
 
Aspirational Vision 2050
 
Alternative scenarios of Central Asia 2050
 
Four transformations
 
Strategic framework to realize Vision 2050
 
Risks
 
Managing the energy transition
 
Vision 2050—an energy transition for a prosperous Central Asia
 
What the future may hold for energy technologies
 
How to manage the energy transition—from legacy to Vision 2050
 
Prices, subsidies, and the efficient
 
Hydrocarbons—competing in the global context
 
Renewable energy—from the invisible present to a bright future?
 
Global citizenship—a climate change deal for Central Asia?
 
Conclusion
 
Modernizing agriculture
 
Introduction
 
Background
 
Prospects by subsector
 
National policies and regional cooperation
 
Conclusion
 
Creating a competitive and innovative manufacturing and service economy
 
Introduction
 
Economic transformation and diversification in Central Asia since independence
 
Alternative approaches to analyzing the factors driving productivity growth, diversification and competitiveness
 
Systemic factors and measures to support productivity growth
 
Measures in direct support of industrial and service sector development
 
Conclusion
 
Investing in inclusive human development
 
Introduction
 
Education, training and the labor market
 
Health
 
Conclusion
 
Facing the challenge of climate change
 
Introduction—the environmental challenges in Central Asia
 
Vision 2050 20
 
Global climate change—why should emerging market economies care?
 
The scientific context
 
The effects of climate change in Central Asia
 
Adapting to climate change
 
Climate policy opportunities
 
Pursuing open regionalism for shared prosperity
 
Introduction
 
Connecting countries and the region
 
Integrating trade and production
 
Cooperating on water and energy
 
Cooperating on capital flows
 
Managing migration
 
Strengthening regional institutions
 
Balancing national and regional interests—the leadership issue
 
Some early confidence-building measures
 
Conclusion
 
Building effective institutions—The biggest challenge
 
Introduction
 
Institutions and intangible capital
 
Performance since independence—big gains and big gaps
 
Drivers of institutional change
 
Priorities for institutional development
 
Conclusion
 
Conclusion—The way ahead
 
Lessons from the usable past and Vision 2050
 
Action in eight policy areas
 
Middle-income trap
 
The way ahead—Crosscutting principles for action
 
Annex 1: Economic scenarios
 
Annex 2: Energy
 
Annex 3: Institutions
 
References
 
Index

In recent years, Central Asia has emerged as one of the most important regions for connecting many diverse parts of the world. And as such, the timing of this book could not be better. With the earlier transition in the 1990s of Central and Eastern European economies, and now the transition of Central Asia, we are witnessing one of the most dramatic shifts in recent economic history. In this volume, the editors have assembled an incredible team of experts from around the globe to tackle the issues and problems that will face Central Asia in the coming decades as it makes this shift, while also presenting a path to achieve its second Golden Age.

 

 

 

Michel Camdessus
Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

This study is unparalleled in its analysis of sectoral issues that will confront Central Asia for the next 35 years. It is a must read for both those of us in the region, as well as those outside. The authors here have presented a vision that is both realistic in its analysis yet optimistic in its overall goals. The path forward for our region will by no means be easy, but with this volume we have a roadmap for, as the tagline says, unleashing the regions potential.

 

 

 

Djoomart Otorbaev
Former Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic

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