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Economic Cooperation in the Wider Central Asia Region


  • William Byrd
  • Martin Raiser


This paper lays out the big issues that affect regional cooperation and development in the wider Central Asia region, and analyzes in greater detail areas where there appear to be good prospects for progress in the short run. The paper develops a framework for approaching regional cooperation in the wider Central Asia region, based on identifying and analyzing critical linkages among sectors, and explicitly recognizing political obstacles and the corresponding need for political incentives to make progress. Modest, "win-win" initiatives will help build trust and momentum for tackling the more difficult areas, but there may also be opportunities for "bold strokes" to augment, and change the distribution of benefits sufficiently to leverage more substantial progress. The paper notes that progress in regional cooperation has been limited to date, largely on account of political obstacles related to geopolitical rivalries but also due to an inability to agree over the distribution of the potential benefits from cooperation between, and within countries. It then provides a thematic overview of critical clusters of issues including the nexus of: a) border security issues with narcotics, trade facilitation, and people movements; b) transport infrastructure and trade, and transport facilitation; c) irrigation water issues with narcotics, and people movements; and, d) electricity (hydropower), and water issues. Practical short-run recommendations are put forward that take political incentives into consideration.

Suggested Citation

  • William Byrd & Martin Raiser, 2006. "Economic Cooperation in the Wider Central Asia Region," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6969, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6969

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. MacKellar, Landis & Woergoetter, Andreas & Woerz, Julia, 2000. "Economic Development Problems of Landlocked Countries," Transition Economics Series 14, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. World Bank, 2004. "Trade and Regional Cooperation between Afghanistan and its Neighbors," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15547, The World Bank.
    3. Masood Ahmad & Mahwash Wasiq, 2004. "Water Resource Development in Northern Afghanistan and Its Implications for Amu Darya Basin," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14939, April.
    4. Raballand, Gael & Kunth, Antoine & Auty, Richard, 2005. "Central Asia's transport cost burden and its impact on trade," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 6-31, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2011. "Challenges to Enterprise Performance in the Face of the Financial Crisis : Eastern Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2316, April.


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