Brief Description

Located between Russia, China, and Iran, Central Asia has played a strategic role in global trade in the past connecting Europe and Asia via the Silk Road. Once part of the Soviet Union, the region gained independence in 1991, allowing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan to become sovereign states. Today, Central Asia is a dynamic and vast region rich in natural resources and economic potential. It is home to nearly 79 million people with diverse ethnicities, languages, and religions. With a rapidly growing private sector, the enormous potential of youth in the region, and recent leadership changes resulting in a shift in political will, Central Asia is well-positioned to improve its business environment and attract foreign investment. 

CIPE’s Objectives in the Region

In Central Asia, CIPE works with business organizations, civil society, and think tanks to: 

  • Foster cultures of integrity in the business community 
  • Facilitate grassroots public-private dialogue on regulatory reform 
  • Advocate for policies that increase economic opportunity, trade, and investment 

Current Work

CIPE’s Central Asia programs focus on private sector engagement and capacity building, advocacy and public-private dialogue, business association development, business integrity and compliance, and women’s economic empowerment. 

Public-Private Dialogue 

Since 2018, CIPE has worked with the American Chamber of Commerce in Tajikistan (AmCham Tajikistan) to increase the organization’s capacity to engage in specific and constructive advocacy. With CIPE support, the AmCham surveyed Tajik firms’ perspectives on the tax code and submitted consolidated recommendations for government consideration during public consultation. Currently, CIPE is supporting AmCham Tajikistan to promote the values of ethical business conduct and integrity in public-private interactions through a series of public-private dialogue sessions with government and help the chamber to position itself as a unique public-private dialogue platform in Tajikistan and to cultivate constructive and bottom-up feedback practice among business communities. 

In 2022 CIPE launched the “Improving the Business Environment in Central Asia (IBECA)” program. Through this program, CIPE aims to bring together small and medium enterprises, women-led businesses, business associations, think tanks, chambers of commerce, universities, and CIPE’s seasoned advocacy and capacity-building trainers to build the skills and capabilities of these organizations to cooperate, communicate, and execute plans to build a stronger business environment. IBECA’s activities are demand-driven and designed to address the needs and circumstances facing the private sector in Central Asia. One of the key activities of this program has been the launch of the B5+1, a private-sector-led counterpart to the C5+1 (Central Asia 5+1), which is a diplomatic platform organized by the US Department of State to represent the interests of the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and the United States. The B5+1 represents business interests in the region and promotes an open public-private dialogue between US and Central Asian private-sector actors on the one hand and their respective government. More information can be found on the B5+1 Forum website. 


As a subcontractor to DAI under the USAID-funded “Trade Central Asia” activity, CIPE is working with private sector associations to increase public-private dialogue (PPD) on cross-border trade and investment. CIPE is building the capacity of associations on how to conduct advocacy and PPD and on implementation of the WTO TFA agreement; sharing best practices and lessons learned from other WTO member countries who have successfully implemented the TFA; and assisting associations in developing advocacy and networking plans. Through country-level and regional workshops, CIPE has strengthened associations’ capacity on the preparation and monitoring of the implementation of the plans of National Committees for Trade Facilitation, and to survey members firms about the effects of the Ukraine war on their businesses and regional trade. More information on TCA can be found in English and Russian on the USAID TCA factsheet 

Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Business 

CIPE is a sub-awardee of the Solidarity Center on the US Department of Labor-funded Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Sector program. The project aims to bring local cotton producers, global brands, government officials, and labor representatives together to exchange information, build trust, and develop shared understanding around issues of transparency, labor rights, and good corporate governance. CIPE focuses primarily at the enterprise level, supporting local cotton cluster owners to improve business practices and compliance systems. 

In 2023, CIPE launched work with local partners the Institute of Directors (IOD) and the Chamber of Management Consultants (CMC) to promote business integrity and corporate governance in Central Asia through the establishment of a Business Integrity Club. Through this initiative CIPE convenes local enterprises who champion transparency in their businesses to work together to further institutionalize ethical practices in Central Asian business.  

Integrated Compliance 

In response to new economic challenges in Central Asia and to respond to interest in accessing new markets, in June 2023, CIPE laid the groundwork for the first Integrated Compliance Network in Central Asia to facilitate discussions on new business opportunities and regulatory risks that emerge from increasingly fast-changing regulatory requirements.  In partnership with the founding network members, CIPE and its partner the Central Asian Development Institute (CADI) developed a final report titled, “Pathways to Enhance Corporate Sustainability and Compliance in Central Asia” assessing the current state of integrated compliance in Central Asia following a survey of 180 companies from across Central Asia. 

Past Success

CIPE has been active in the Central Asia region for nearly two decades. Some recent highlights of CIPE’s work in the region include: 

  • The inaugural B5+1 (Business 5+1) Forum, held in Almaty on 14-15 March 2024, brought together over 250 business, government, expert and investor representatives from the five Central Asian countries and the United States. With participants representing 10 nations, 5 international organizations, and over 400 business associations and chambers of commerce, the B5+1 Forum served as a dynamic platform for sharing perspectives and visions on regional cooperation and connectivity in Central Asia  
  • In August 2023, CIPE conducted a Leadership Academy for Development (LAD) for a group of Central Asian business, government and civil society leaders in partnership with the Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Through real-life case studies, small group work and thematic lectures, participants developed skills in designing and implementing public policy initiatives that consider stakeholder interests and political, cultural and social factors. 
  • In 2023, CIPE partnered with the Kyrgyzstan-based Central Asian Development Institute (CADI) to pilot investment screening in Central Asia. Building on previous engagement with CADI to examine the perceptions and effects of FDI from different countries, CADI with assistance from CIPE developed a methodology for an investment screening mechanism based on international best practices.  
  • From April 2021 to April 2023, as part of the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium funded by the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Women’s Issues, CIPE implemented the “National Women’s Business Agendas for Central Asia” project in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and Search for Common Ground. This program convened more than 100 local women’s business associations, mainstream business associations, women’s civil society organizations and women entrepreneurs representing more than 46,000 women from across Central Asia, and facilitated four country-level coalitions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Together these Coalitions advocated policy recommendations to national governments through public-private dialogue and promoted the message of women entrepreneurs’ essential role in the economy through public outreach campaigns. More information about the program can be found in English on the WAGE Global website. 


  • From 2022 to 2023, CIPE supported a nationwide campaign of local business townhalls in all 18 provinces of Kazakhstan. These town halls convened over 450 participants and amassed over 156,648 viewers online. These town halls raised awareness in the country about severe inequality, exclusion, and problems of small businesses in the remote regions of the country, while providing a platform for public-private dialogue on the major challenges facing local businesses. 
  • From 2018 to 2022, CIPE implemented and ran an association management capacity-building program for business associations in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Through this program, CIPE made significant progress in building the capacity of independent business associations in Central Asia in the areas of organizational management and advocacy providing them with the tools to engage in meaningful public private dialogue and the policymaking process. 
  • CIPE has also helped create and build the National Alliance of Business Associations (NABA) capacity, representing 59 associations and over 80,000 SMEs. This alliance provides capacity-building support to improve associations’ management and advocacy skills, training public and private sector stakeholders on tools to analyze regulations and developing a corporate governance training program.