Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and the Future of Regional Cooperation and Integration

Tuesday, 5 May 2015, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

The economies of Central Asia and Southern Caucasus aim to become modern industrial and service economies in the coming decades. They face significant challenges along the way. First, they are landlocked with limited connectivity due to poor infrastructure. This imposes high transport and trade costs. Second, they are heavily dependent on natural resources for economic growth, making them vulnerable to external shocks with the possibility of Dutch disease. Consequently, economic diversification is imperative to sustain economic growth. Third, as transition economies, they are still in the process of developing market infrastructure. Against this background, the seminar will discuss how regional cooperation and integration can support economic development in light of the challenges they face—through building better connectivity, promoting economic diversification, and through knowledge sharing.

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Opening Remarks

Wencai Zhang
Vice President (Operations 1), Asian Development Bank


Yonov Frederick Agah
Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization

Sahil Babayev
Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry, Azerbaijan

Kenneth Courtis
Chairman, Starfort Holdings and Managing Partners, Courtis Global & Associates

Daniel Wieland
Senior Vice President, Rail Logistics and Forwarding, Schenker AG

Kae Yanagisawa
Vice-President, Japan International Cooperation Agency

Jianping Zhang
Head of Department of International Economic Cooperation, Institute for International Economic Research, National Development and Reform Commission, People's Republic of China


David Pilling
Financial Times