Central Asia: Areas of cooperation
Central Asia is a region with great economic and geopolitical prospects, experts say. Developing the region’s potential is a priority task for its leaders. The heads of states of the region are focusing on developing joint projects in the region. Cooperation ranges from trade and transit to culture and education.
SEILBEK MUSATAYEV, PHD IN POLITICAL SCIENCE:
- It is obvious that the interests of the Central Asian countries coincide. We have common goals and objectives. The head of our state spoke about this. We see that Uzbekistan has recently started actively developing cooperation with the Central Asian republics. This means new markets, development of cross-border trade and economic growth.
According to the economic indicators, the states of the Central Asian region are already benefiting from the enhanced partnerships. Last year, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan grew 30%. Undoubtedly, the more frequent meetings of the leaders of the five countries are contributing to the expansion of cooperation areas.
SAGYNGALI AIDARBEKOV, PHD IN LAW:
- We need the exchange of products. For example, Tajikistan still buys flour and grain from us because they can not meet the need of their market. We, in return, purchase vegetables from Tajikistan. Since vegetables ripen 2-3 months earlier than our veggies do. Therefore, it is important for us to develop logistics, this will affect the cost of the traded goods. In general, we need to develop subregional integration within Central Asia.
Water is one of the most important topics for the region. According to a recent study , by 2040, water supply in Central Asia may decrease by almost 25%. The burden on the resources of the Aral Sea basin increases as a result of a population growth and climate impacts. This will impede the growth of economies. The main tools for improving the region's water supply should be introduction of automation, implementation of resource allocation plans, improving the accuracy of the drainage forecast. In this regard, representatives of Bishkek and Dushanbe intend to build a joint hydropower plant.
ZHUMABEK SARABEKOV, LEADING EXPERT, INSTITUTE OF WORLD ECONOMICS AND POLITICS:
- We can see the demographic growth in the region. For example, Uzbekistan’s population makes up 32 million, Kazakhstan’s population is estimated at 18 million. In addition, populations are growing in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the future, this can lead to water shortage. If we do not solve this issue or find a compromise, we may face water shortage.
According to experts, growing cooperation will not only provide economic benefits to the Central Asian countries, but will also strengthen the role of the region on the international arena.