Within the limits of the expert online conference «Russia and Central Asia: efforts after he pandemic» with the report on economic and social consequences of coronavirus crisis in the Central Asian region Director of Ma’No Centre for Research Initiatives Bakhtier Ergashev (Uzbekistan) spoke.
Edition ORIENT has decided that some positions of this report would be interesting for readers of the website.
The author on the basis of set of various data and factors has predicted three possible scenarios from exit for «Central Asian five countries» (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) from the economic crisis provoked by the pandemic.
In particular, Bakhtier Ergashev writes that by development of scenarios one should account not only the internal factors influencing the «successfulness – unsuccessfulness» strategy of overcoming of consequences of coronavirus, the countries of the region realised by the governments, but also the external factor was important.
That is, how easily Central Asia will overcome the coronavirus crisis; will depend on how two largest economic partners of the countries of the region will carry out their relations: Russia and China. Both these countries are the largest foreign trade partners for all countries of the region and the largest investors in economy of the countries of the region. Russia besides it is the largest country – the recipient of labour migration from Central Asia.
So, here is scenario A:
The Scenario ” has got off lightly” (optimistic)
It is supposed that the national strategy for the overcoming of the pandemic will allow stopping coronavirus by the end of summer of 2020. Quarantine measures will be appreciably cancelled. Borders for passenger transportations will be opened, flight – railway communications will be renewed. The volume of intraregional trade will reach volumes of 2019. Unemployment growth will be moderated, first of all in non-productive branches, the sphere of services.
The Scenario “will be difficult” (realistic)
The National strategy for struggle with coronavirus will not be synchronised. A part of the countries where coronavirus will not be overcome, remain closed for communications. «The second wave of coronavirus» will return in the autumn of 2020. Volumes of intraregional trade will not reach indicators of 2019. Unemployment growth will be moderated, first of all in non-productive branches, the sphere of services.
Negative indicators of GDP are likely to hold in all countries of the region, except Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The Scenario «Everything is serious and for a long time» (pessimistic)
The second wave of coronavirus from the autumn of 2020 will cover all countries of the region. There will be a secondary closing of borders, the rigid quarantine mode will be transferred for 2021. The critical recession of economy is likely. Serious figures of bankruptcy of subjects of small and medium business, both in industrial and non-productive economy vectors. Rigid crisis is expected to hold in the building sphere. Intraregional trade will decrease to the level of 2017.
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On the basis of these three scenarios, the author does a number of conclusions for the countries of Central Asia. We want to bring first one, and in our opinion, the main conclusion.
The author considers that «the present pandemic coronavirus has shown that the countries of the region have no accurate both co-ordinated system of measures and mechanisms for counteraction to such challenges».
Probably, so, it is. The mankind in contemporary history first has faced such dangerous infection and naturally could not be prepared for the pandemic or prevent it.
How to be protected from danger which you do not know? But the significance of novel coronavirus is that it has given people invaluable experience of reaction on that sort of challenges. Now, there will appear, anyway, should appear «systems of counteraction to such challenges » about which the author speaks.
It is a pity for only one thing – for this experience the mankind has paid and continues to pay too high price.