President Nazarbayev 21 May met U.S. Sec State Rex Tillerson during summit of Muslim countries in Riyadh; Nazarbayev expressed hope that interaction between Kazakhstan and U.S. “will enter a qualitatively new level of development in many areas”, reported president’s office. Nazarbayev mid-month attended China’s high-level Belt and Road forum aimed at developing trade routes, specifically Silk Road Economic Belt initiative seeking to improve transport and energy infrastructure along two broad transport corridors in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan’s wish for stability and continuity under long-serving President Nazarbayev trumps the will for political change, especially given turbulence elsewhere on Russia’s borders. But without economic reform, full ethnic equality and a political succession plan, the Central Asian country risks becoming another brittle post-Soviet state vulnerable to external destabilisation.
Resource-led economic growth cannot mask the need for reforms in Kazakhstan as labour unrest, social divisions and a growing Islamist movement threaten the country’s stability.
China’s influence is growing rapidly in Central Asia at a time when the region is looking increasingly unstable.
The economic crisis has caused millions of migrant labourers from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to lose their jobs in the boom economies of Russia and Kazakhstan.
The Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commencing on 3 May 2003 is an opportunity to assess frankly and honestly the records of the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Competition for water is increasing in Central Asia at an alarming rate, adding tension to what is already an uneasy region.