Due to the continuing global health concerns and travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19, the annual CAMCA Regional Forum was held virtually over June 21st-25th with a robust lineup of virtual events.
Find recordings of all the Forum sessions at the CAMCA Forum YouTube page.
The week's events featured conversations on the “Economic Prospects of the CAMCA Region.” Speakers delved into a variety of topics including challenges to regionalism, foreign investment opportunities and impediments, the region’s new entrepreneurial class, education and labor market demands, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more. Participants debated whether or not the CAMCA countries are linking arms or going it alone with respect to their strategic economic development as they emerge from the pandemic in the period ahead.
Dr. Svante Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
In spite of their rich common heritage and deep history of cooperation, there is less regional cooperation and coordination among CAMCA countries today than in any other world region. With notable exceptions, a “soft autarky” prevails. Following the collapse of the USSR, centrifugal forces led to armed conflict, mutual isolation of the new regional states, and their manipulation by outside powers. By contrast, rising centripetal forces have led to innovative projects in transport, trade, cooperation on many pressing issues, and cordial inter-governmental relations at the presidential level. That the countries of Central Asia were able to join forces to rid their region of nuclear arms suggests the potential of this current. Our experts will ask whether cooperation and coordination among the CAMCA countries has reached its natural limit, or if it can advance further and lead to region-wide coordinating bodies to foster more extensive interaction among sovereign states?
Afghanistan is an organic part of Central Asia and a critical strategic lynchpin. The United States is removing its forces there amidst dire warnings from virtually all observers and allies about what this will mean − not just for the Afghan economy, its recent political and social progress, and for human rights there − but for Afghanistan's very existence as a viable state. Beyond this, if America continues to see Afghanistan as a stand-alone issue, unattached to the fate of Central and South Asia, its strategic engagement with the region as a whole may lose its geopolitical foundation. What would this mean for the individual countries of Central Asia, and what kinds of strategic choices will they now likely entertain? Will it strengthen or weaken prospects of regional coordination and cooperation? The American presence has had a restraining effect on other powers in the region—China. India, Pakistan. Russia, and Iran. How will they now respond to the changed realities? And, finally, what might America’s role be in the rest of Central Asia and the Caucasus after the Afghan withdrawal?
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, what changes are to be expected with regards to the investment outlook for the CAMCA region? How are the CAMCA countries adapting to create attractive climates for foreign investors? Which of the CAMCA countries are best positioned to attract more foreign investment? This panel will present the 2021 Global Investment Opportunities Index for the CAMCA region as well as discuss the opportunities and impediments − real and imaginary − to foreign investments, highlighting the perspectives of both current investors in the region and those CAMCA nationals who are working to attract external investment to their countries.
Despite many challenges, the economies of CAMCA countries grew significantly in the decades preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. This growth was stimulated by natural resources and large scale government and private sector investments, with several ambitious leaders and a rising bevy of small and medium size companies driving the process. Now, in the dawning post-COVID era, the region’s rising entrepreneurial class is bound to play an increasingly important role in the economic development of their countries. This panel will feature some notable entrepreneurs who have launched and nurtured successful businesses all across the CAMCA region. Among the questions they will address will be: What will facilitate the process of private sector growth? What will be the major impediments? How can the personal experience of successful regional entrepreneurs guide and inspire others?
The future of CAMCA countries and the region as whole will be shaped significantly by the level and quality of education there. Those countries that transform their educational systems that will develop modern and reliable skills will advance, even in the face of withering competition from elsewhere. Those that fail to do so will drop behind. This session will discuss how innovation in education can foster and shape social, economic, and institutional modernization and growth. Should educational reform begin at the top or the bottom of educational systems? How can modern education both reward talent and satisfy demands for equity? Can existing educational institutions evolve fast enough to provide transforming societies with leaders and workers? Can legislation on education change fast enough to meet national demand?
This collection features submissions from CAMCA Network representatives providing readers with the latest updates from the CAMCA countries since last year’s e-CAMCA Week held in June 2020. Each country update synopsis includes notable economic, political and social developments, insights on key industry and sector innovations that arose in response to the pandemic, top examples of recent intraregional cooperation and more.
This collection features submissions from CAMCA Network representatives from each of the ten CAMCA countries providing readers with the latest updates on each country. Each synopsis includes the most notable economic, political and social developments, insights on what those interested in the region should be on the lookout for in the coming years, and finally, top examples of recent intraregional cooperation
A comprehensive collection of brief commentaries on the short and long-term impacts – economic, political and social – of the COVID-19 pandemic on the CAMCA region. Contributors to this unique publication include more than 20 experts and professionals from over 10 countries representing think tanks, business, academia, government and more. Read these wide-ranging perspectives, including insights directly from the region, curated for our CAMCA Forum community.
The CAMCA (Central Asia-Mongolia-Caucasus-Afghanistan) Regional Forum is a non-political and non-partisan Forum established to promote region-wide discussions on means of advancing economic growth and development in Greater Central Asia (Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). It promotes this goal by fostering dialogue and interaction among rising young leaders from all sectors in the 10 countries of the region, as well as with international leaders and stakeholders. The Forum organizers believe that expanded communication and collaboration among talented professionals from a range of fields can significantly contribute to economic, political and social development on both a national and regional basis.
The Forum is a premier opportunity to engage with prominent influencers and leaders in the CAMCA region and to gain firsthand insights on the region’s pulse and latest developments. The Forum’s non-political and non-partisan mission facilitates an environment for open conversation aimed toward the prosperity of the region and its people. The Forum was established as one of the first and only platforms to bring together representatives of the 10 CAMCA countries, spanning from the South Caucasus to Mongolia, to discuss emerging opportunities for regional cooperation and integration. Due to the diverse and impressive pool of participants, the Forum essentially serves as a ‘one-stop shop’ for professionals of all sectors who are interested in regional cooperation and partnerships, as well as for outside nations, businesses and organizations that have an interest in engaging with the region.
The 2019 CAMCA Regional Forum was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan over June 13-14, 2019. The Forum brought together over 300 international participants to discuss issues and trends central to the region. Conversations centered around the Forum theme, “CAMCA: Shared Interests, Shared Aspirations.”
Main Forum events included plenary sessions, roundtables, keynote interviews, a regional business showcase, breakout sessions and opportunities for guests to further network throughout receptions and dinners. Read the 2019 Forum Report.
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