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An Italian air force AB-212 helicopter flies over Afghanistan's Ring Road in Farah province during an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, Oct. 6, 2008.

Cooperation is critical for the resource-rich region.

Integrating Central Asia

July 2011, Number 02.03

“Central Asia is endowed with a surplus of natural and human resources. The region possesses abundant energy and minerals, some of the world’s largest tracts of arable land and a highly literate population. It also borders on some of the fastest growing economies in the world, including China and India.

“Central Asia is poised to become a significant actor in this new global paradigm and the next frontier of economic opportunity,” said Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Despite this high praise from the OECD, the five former Soviet Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – have been struggling to varying degrees to integrate into the world economy.

Positive reforms are needed if Central Asia is to achieve economic integration and realize its vast potential. The OECD notes that the region is overly dependent on natural resource extraction and does little to promote investment, economic diversification and worker training. Critics say the region needs investment in infrastructure – not only pipelines to export natural gas and oil to an energy-hungry world, but also highways and railroads to ship produce and manufactured goods, and schools to educate its citizens...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Integrating Central Asia,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 2, No. 3, 2011: 46-49.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.