By Rafis Abazov
October 16, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During the Astana Financial Days event in July 2018, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan announced and personally endorsed the opening of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). He envisions that the AIFC will provide financial services “not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the whole world.” If successful, the AIFC can contribute to diversifying the financial resources for Kazakhstan’s national and international projects. Through its proper implementation, the government of Kazakhstan can develop a tool for improving collaboration with neighboring countries in Central Asia in the industrial, agricultural and tourism sectors, making the Central Asian section of the Silk Road more attractive for business and financial deals. In addition, the Center can become a real financial hub not only for Kazakhstan and Central Asia but also for the wider Eurasia region if it is capable of attracting enough financial resources from large international players.
By Tristan Kenderdine
October 30, 2018, the CACI Analyst
In the trade war with the U.S., China has clearly shown that it is willing to reject Pacific trade partners based on political over economic considerations. Beijing’s wider policy to develop industrial and agroindustrial capacity in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East means that these economies can use short-term structural changes in global trade dynamics to their longer term advantage. Ultimately, all states suffer in a trade war. If Central Asian, U.S. and European producers all had open access to China’s markets, all sides would benefit in the long run. In the short term though, a U.S.-China trade war is a huge opportunity for Central Asian economies to soak up China’s heavy industry outward direct investment despite the risk of a China policy bank debt-trap.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
October 25, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 12, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Caspian Sea’s Legal Status in Astana. The Convention’s provision endorsing the construction of a subsea pipeline raised optimism regarding the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project, which has been stalled due to the Caspian’s uncertain status. Discussions on the TCGP have been ongoing since the 1990s, envisaging the export of 30 billion cubic meters/year (bcm/y) of Turkmen gas to Europe across the Caspian by integrating with the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC).
By Huseyn Aliyev
October 2, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On May 27, Ingushetia’s Muftiate (The Muslim Spiritual Center of Ingushetia) excommunicated Yunus-bek Yevkurov, head of the autonomous republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. According to the head of the Muftiate, Isa Khamkhoev, the excommunication implies that Yevkurov is no longer a Muslim and is not allowed to participate in wedding and funeral ceremonies or other Muslim events in the republic. The Muftiate motivated its decision with Yevkurov’s persecution of the religious community, the illegal use of administrative resources to lobby against the Muftiate, and the use of security forces to seize land allocated for a mosque in the capital city Magas. Notwithstanding the excommunication, Yevkurov was reelected as the head of republic in the September 9 local elections.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.