Occasional Papers

29.12.2017: “Soft Power of Central Asian Nations in the 21st Century: Heritage, Modernity, Aspirations”

  • The Paper considers several sources of soft power – history and culture, tourism, education, and communications – before concluding: “all five Central Asian states have soft power assets that they hope to strengthen in conjunction with their efforts to satisfy their [Sustainable Development Goals] commitments and by other means. Some have a better developed soft presence than others – or have leveraged it more adeptly”, while noting that subpar scores in rankings measuring the indicators of soft power “[underscore] how much is yet to be achieved.”

15.11.2017: “Central Asia’s Growing Trade Status and the Rise of Uzbekistan”

  • After more than twenty-five years of independence, the world now recognises the Central Asian republics as mature sovereign states with well-established economies. As a result, investor confidence is building and international trading relationships are expanding and deepening. And with its newly elected President – the first change in leadership since before Independence – and a rapidly growing economy, Uzbekistan is without doubt a country to watch.

01.11.2017: Europe and China’s Belt and Road Initiative: New Opportunities for Cooperation and Synergy in Central Asia

  • A reminder of some of the work already carried out by China, the Central Asian states and the European Union, while highlighting potential areas for further collaboration and synergy ahead of this month’s Meeting.

16.12.2016: “Central Asia’s Deepening Relationship with Leading IGOs: A Key to Connectivity and Economic Growth”

  • This Paper focuses on the partnerships between Central Asian states and leading financial IGOs such as the WTO, the OECD and the EBRD, as well as the OSCE and regional bodies such as CAREC.

16.12.2016: Central Asian Economy 25 Years after Collapse of the Soviet Union: Outcomes and Perspectives

  • This Paper focuses on economic developments in Central Asia in the 25 years since the region’s Independence from the Soviet Union, including economic “success stories” in all five countries, well-established local and international companies in the region and infrastructural works completed, before turning to the economic and financial prospects for the Central Asian region.

29.09.2016: New Technologies and Renewable Energy in Central Asia: Opportunities for Growth 

  • This Paper will focus on new technologies that are currently being introduced in Central Asia, in important sectors such as agriculture and IT.  It will show to what extent research centers and start-ups are flourishing in the region, looking for international partners.  Central Asia has also great potential for the development of alternative energy sources (solar and wind energy), which will be the main theme of the EXPO 2017 exhibition in Astana, a unique platform to attract and connect international investors with Central Asian partners.

06.09.2016: Central Asia: New Opportunities for European Investors

  • The investment climate in Central Asia has significantly improved in recent years, allowing European investors – who have so far limited their interest to certain sectors of the economy, above all mineral resources – to broaden their scope of engagement.  This paper will present an overview of investment opportunities in new and promising sectors throughout Central Asia, having provided an outline of the major investment directions taken by European companies since the breakup of the Soviet Union, which opened up Central Asian republics’ access to world markets and international companies.

18.12.2015: The New Silk Road: a Path to Regional Security?

  • Central Asia is deeply involved in a new initiative, in tandem with the US and other allies, titled “the New Silk Road” – trade and increased energy supply in Central Asia could lead to new partnerships and greater security for the region as a whole.   This Paper examines the potential impact of this crucial project, evaluating the potential and approach of the New Silk Road Initiative compared to similar projects by other regional actors (i.e. China and the Silk Road Economic Belt).

06.10.2015: “Central Asia’s Growing Role in the War on Terror”

  • The Central Asia region, and in particular Kazakhstan, is becoming an increasingly pivotal ally to the United States, Europe and Russia in the war against terror. Counterterrorism measures in Central Asia, both proactive and preventative, have proved to be highly successful, as this Paper explores in greater detail.

20.08.2015: “Eurasia and the EU – The Next Chapter”

  • Kazakhstan recently initialled and approved a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, the latest in a series of bilateral ties that have brought Central Asia and its largest trading partner closer together.   This Paper appraises the relationship between Central Asia and the EU to date, and outlines common interests, objectives and prospects.

08.04.2015: “Kazakhstan’s Growing Economy”

  • As a result of its oil and gas wealth, and prudent macro-economic management, modern-day Kazakhstan is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and a regional leader for Central Asia.   Its importance as an economic power is growing, and the reasons why its influence will continue to grow are explained in this Paper.

11.03.2015: “Democratic Reform in Kazakhstan: A Model for Transitional States?”

  • Since its Independence from the Soviet Union, the Central Asian giant territory – the size of Western Europe – has made a smooth transition from a former Soviet republic to a middle-income country.   While sometimes frustrating its pro-democracy activists, Kazakhstan has seen no significant major strife under the leadership of its four-term president, Nursultan Nazarabayev.   Kazakhstan has made a progressive change to a democratic model, which is still a work-in-progress.   Does it offer a model for states in a similar situation?  This Paper features an Introduction by Mr. Georgi Parvanov, former president of Bulgaria (2002 – 2012) and member of the ECFA Advisory Council.

28.01.2015: “Kazakhstan: A Dependable Ally in Defence of Global Security?”

  • Once the fourth largest nuclear power in the world, Kazakhstan closed its nuclear test site in 1991 and helped establish a “nuclear weapon free zone” across Central Asia.   Instead of threatening war, today Kazakh troops help keep the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Could the Kazakh model serve as a guide for other regions around the world, including the Middle East?

20.08.2014: “Religious Tolerance and Inclusion: A Model for Multi-Ethnic States?”

  • In a recent briefing, Kazakh officials pointed out that representatives of more than 120 nationalities and 3,400 religious organisations live in the country together, and in peace.   We will examine how this has happened.

27.06.2014: “Foreign Policy in Kazakhstan: Looking Outwards and Moving Forwards”

  • Kazakhstan has steadily built its reputation as an engaged and active regional and international power dedicated to peace and inclusiveness.   Owing to its strong and stable domestic environment, the country has developed a crucial role as a regional leader in Central Asia.   This paper examines the scope and achievement of Kazakhstan’s relations abroad.

01.05.2014: “Kazakhstan: A Global Energy Security Partner in Turbulent Times?”

  • Kazakhstan possesses world-class conventional energy resources, and is a valued energy security partner of the West and neighbouring countries. Despite this, the country is deeply committed to developing an environmentally-sound economy through diversifying and developing alternative energy sources, as this paper seeks to explore.