Tashkent hosted a round table on the theme “Central Asian five countries: prospects for the long-term regional cooperation according to the results of the second Consultative meeting of the heads of Central Asian countries”. Uzbek mass media reported about it.
The meeting was organized by the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan together with the “Development Strategy” center. The “round table” participants noted that the last three years have become a period of precipitous changes in regional cooperation, and there have been established good-neighborly relations of strategic partnership in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres between the Central Asian countries.
According to the agency “Boston consulting group” (USA), against the background of enhancing the regional cooperation, over the next 10 years, the region may implicitly receive foreign investments in the amount of up to $ 170 billion, it is noteworthy that 40-70 billion of them – non-commodity industries.
According to experts’ estimates, trade between the region countries is steadily growing. If the level of trade between them in 2016 reached $ 2.4 billion, in 2017 this figure amounted to $ 2.5 billion, in 2018 – $ 4.3 billion, and during the nine months of this year – 4.1 billion. A number of joint ventures increased fourfold. There is a huge potential for further expansion of trade and economic cooperation.
In the experts’ opinion, this situation is caused by the improvement of interstate relations in the region and the course pursued by the Central Asian states towards the industrialization of national economies, which is difficult without improving regional cooperation. And the proposals to establish industrial cooperation in the region indicate that the request of the business community about the necessity for close interaction, as well as the creation of production chains, has been heard by the heads of states of Central Asia.
Speaking about the organization of an international tourism conference to promote joint programs on the principle of “one tour – the whole region”, the experts stressed that this will significantly increase an inrush of tourists to the countries of Central Asia. According to the study of the world’s largest website “Tripadvisor”, conducted in conjunction with the WTO, 61% of respondents want to visit the ancient cities of the Silk Route. 47% of respondents noted that they would visit the countries of Central Asia in the case of the introduction of a single visa.
According to the experts, discussion of the Afghan issue during the consultative meeting speaks for two important aspects of the regional cooperation. Firstly, the Central Asian states are ready now to consolidate efforts for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan and the peaceful settlement of the situation in this country. Secondly, improvement of the regional cooperation in Central Asia offers manifold opportunities for Afghanistan, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties with which were severely limited in the 20th century.
Following the “round table” results, it was noted that the meeting of the states’ heads is a momentous event in the modern history of the region, and the reached agreements create a platform for building the long-term cooperation in Central Asia.