Central Asia, located between Russia, China, Iran, and Afghanistan, has always played a strategic role in the global order. In antiquity, caravan routes known as the Silk Road passed through this region connecting the East and West. After the Great Game between the British and Russian empires in the 19th century, Central Asia became part of Russia and later, the Soviet Union. In 1991, this region gained independence allowing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan to become sovereign states.
Today Central Asia is a dynamic and vast region with rich natural resources of crude oil and natural gas. The region is home to about 72 million people with different ethnicities, languages and religions. These newly independent states are open to global markets and international investment. With a rapidly growing private sector, enormous potential of youth in the region, and recent changes in leadership and shifts in political will, Central Asia is well-positioned to improve its business environment and enhance international cooperation.
CIPE’s mission in Central Asia:
In Central Asia, CIPE works with business member organizations and civil society to:
- Foster business cultures of integrity
- Facilitate public-private dialogue on reforms in the business environment
- Advocate policies that facilitate economic opportunity, trade, and investment
CIPE currently works in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan on projects focused on private sector-led advocacy, business integrity, and good governance.
In Kazakhstan, CIPE works with a group of organizations to strengthen corporate governance and business ethics practices of SMEs. CIPE has worked with local organizations to develop ethics and compliance training curricula for public and private sector stakeholders.
Since 2018, CIPE has implemented an association management capacity-building program for business associations in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This program builds associations’ organizational capacity and advocacy skills to effectively represent their members’ interests to the government. CIPE supports a regional network of business associations in Central Asia to promote governance norms, trade, and intra-regional cooperation.
In partnership with the think tank BizExpert, CIPE supported Kyrgyz business associations to develop, advocate, and monitor evidence-based policy recommendations through a National Business Agenda, a vital CIPE advocacy tool. Recognizing how committed Kyrgyz youth were to increasing economic opportunity at home, CIPE and BizExpert introduced a fellowship program for youth to gain experience in the advocacy and policymaking process.
In previous projects, CIPE helped create and build the capacity of the National Alliance of Business Associations (NABA), representing 59 associations and over 80,000 SMEs; provided capacity-building support to improve associations’ management and advocacy skills; trained public and private sector stakeholders on tools to analyze regulations; and developed a corporate governance training program.