I am leaving Almaty, and as I’ve accepted a position as the World Bank’s Senior Private Sector Development Specialist in Burkina Faso.
In three years, Kazakhstan has a short distance to go to accede to the WTO. This will surely occur as Russia has become a member. The external tariffs will decrease below the current EurAsEC Customs Union levels.
Regional economic integration still faces challenges that keep broad-based, diversified economic growth from happening. Uzbekistan needs to adopt a liberal economic agenda for this to happen. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan’s poor relations need to improve. In the near term, I sense that some Central Asian countries have a taste to pursue negotiated regimes with large trading partners on a bilateral basis. Hopefully, policies will not adopt a “whatever comes to mind” approach, and increasingly embrace rule-based systems with proven economic benefits.
USAID’s economic development work in Central Asia is increasingly focusing on integrating Afghanistan into world markets via Central Asia or with Central Asian markets as an end unto itself.
Burkina Faso has some similar problems as a landlocked country dependent on its neighbors for reaching markets and a reliance on commodities. I will post more when I arrive….