China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a potential gamechanger for the Central Asia and South Caucasus (CASC) region. CASC countries naturally view this massive development program as a unique opportunity to accelerate their economic development through increased foreign investment, upgraded physical infrastructure, and tighter economic relationships with their neighbors.
Yet embracing the BRI is not without risks. Some BRI investments may prove to be fiscally unsustainable, economically and financially unviable, and socially and environmentally harmful. Inadequate cross-border coordination and infrastructure maintenance could render some BRI investments wasteful or redundant. If not proactively addressed, these risks have the potential to leave countries worse off for having participated in the BRI.
Policymakers in the CASC region and their development partners, thus, face a daunting question: how to realize the promise of the BRI for their countries while avoiding the pitfalls that lie along the way?
This book attempts to answer this question by leveraging the unique insights of development experts in the CASC region. Drawing on the most comprehensive review of BRI investment data conducted to date, this book presents a dynamic policy agenda that is relevant to any country in which China is building the Belt and Road.
Foreword Acknowledgments Harinder S. Kohli, Johannes F. Linn, and Leo M. Zucker Introduction Harinder S. Kohli and Leo M. Zucker An economic perspective on the Belt and Road Initiative: Six years after its launch Johannes F. Linn and Leo M. Zucker An “inside-out” perspective on the impact of the BRI in Central Asia and the South Caucasus: Overview Aktoty Aitzhanova The Belt and Road Initiative: The case of Kazakhstan Roman Mogilevskii The Kyrgyz Republic and the Belt and Road Initiative Rustam Aminjonov and Matin Kholmatov The Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia and the South Caucasus: A view from Tajikistan Bahodir Ganiev The Belt and Road Initiative in Uzbekistan Giorgi Khishtovani, Mariam Zabakhidze, Irakli Gabriadze, and Rezo Beradze The Belt and Road Initiative in the South Caucasus region Biliang Hu Building the Belt and Road: The impact on China and Central Asia Michael Emerson European perspectives on the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative Rajat M. Nag An Indian perspective on the Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia and the South Caucasus Kiyoshi Kodera China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Japan, and its impact on Japan–Central Asia relations Evgeny Vinokurov The Belt and Road Initiative: A Russian perspective S. Frederick Starr US perspectives on China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the South Caucasus and Central Asia Harinder S. Kohli, Johannes F. Linn, and Leo M. Zucker Conclusion and recommendations References and notes Photo credits