New Economic Challenges Ahead for Caucasus, Central Asia

New Economic Challenges Ahead for Caucasus, Central Asia

Following a period of rapid growth, the 25th anniversary of independence for the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region comes at a time of economic challenges.

The decline in oil prices and the economic slowdown in China, Russia, and Europe will have a long lasting impact on the region.

The first regional roundtable, held in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 24 and jointly chaired by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Massimov, was a platform to deepen the regional dialogue on the way forward. CCA countries have enjoyed average growth rates of nearly 7 percent during the last decade. But growth is expected to slow down to 3.5 percent in the medium term according to IMF projections.

Throughout the roundtable discussion, finance ministers from the region plus Russia and Belarus, along with IMF experts agreed that now is the time to diversify away from commodity dependence, strengthen institutions, and promote regional integration to address these challenges. Key questions discussed throughout the day’s events were:

Many of the issues debated at the roundtable extended to panel discussions at the subsequent Astana Economic Forum held later in the week.