CPC - Caspian Policy Center


Caspian Middle Corridor Conference

Caspian Middle Corridor Conference


Arundel House, 6 Temple Place, London WC2R 2PG 


The Middle Corridor’s network of routes crossing Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus, and Türkiye, constitutes a multimodal transport corridor that combines road, rail and sea transportation. It represents the shortest path for goods traded from China to Europe, thousands of kilometres less than the northern route through Russia. It also provides an alternative to the Red Sea route. Transit times are shortening but will have to be more consistent.  This requires targeted investment, expertise, and effective governance that removes bottlenecks and smooth progress. The Region – particularly Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye – will have to collaborate closely with each other and international partners to make the most of the Middle Corridor’s potential commercial and socioeconomic benefits. Infrastructure improvements must be efficient, sustainable and developmentally sound from the start. This Conference will look at how to co-ordinate, prioritise and do business effectively across the Corridor.


08:30  – 09:00           Registration and Coffee


09:00 – 09:05           Opening Remarks

  • Efgan Nifti, President, Caspian Policy Center
  • David Moran, UK Adviser, Caspian Policy Center (including COP29)


09:10 – 09:30          Keynote Remarks 


09:30 – 10:00          Ambassadorial Panel

Moderated by David Moran, Caspian Policy Center

  • Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK ·
  • Sofio Katsarava, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK ·
  • Magzhan Ilyassov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK ·
  • Osman Koray Ertaş, Ambassaor of Türkiye to the UK


Session 1 – Maximising Development Impact: Prioritisation & Coordination

10:00  - 11:00 


The European Union and the EBRD have been pivotal in 2023-24 in injecting momentum into Middle Corridor planning. At part of the EU’s Global Gateway trade network, European and international donors announced in January of this year an intention to commit 10 billion euros to support Middle Corridor connectivity between Europe and Central Asia.  The money will be used for a wide range of projects, paralleling World Bank and other donor efforts. The UK and US have been active supporters of the process. What kinds of developmental coordination and prioritisation mechanisms would seem opportune, to focus investment resources and ensure appropriate planning?


10:00 – 11:00         Panel 1 Moderated Discussion

Moderated by Dr Marsha McGraw Olive, Member of CPC Advisory Board and Johns Hopkins SAIS Faculty


  • Ekaterina Miroshnik, Director, Head of Infrastructure-Eurasia Team, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
  • Gaidar Abdikerimov - Secretary General, Team of International Association “Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (online)
  • Sophie Ibbotson, Development Consultant, World Bank ·
  • Sean Burnage, Regional Head, Origination and Client Coverage, UK Export Finance ·
  • Alexander Milne, Head, Eurasia, Middle East and Africa, TheCityUK


11:00 – 11:15        Coffee Break


11:14 – 11:45           Ambassadorial Panel (Cont.)

Moderated by David Moran, Caspian Policy Center

  • Varuzhan Nersesyan, Ambassador of Armenia to the UK  (tbc)
  • Ulan Djusupov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UK 
  • Rukhshona Emomali, Ambassador of Tajikistan to the UK (tbc)
  • Yazmurad Seryayev, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to the UK (tbc)
  • Ravshan Usmanov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the UK


Session 2 – How to Do Business Better Along the Middle Corridor

11:45 - 12:45


Though infrastructure gaps and challenges inhibit the Middle Corridor’s potential, some business is doing well.  Business, finance and energy experts discuss what works and what can work better in the Caspian region.   What steps can be taken to address institutionalised impediments to doing business in the Caspian region?  What has the creation of the Middle Corridor meant for international business? Are there low-hanging fruits to improve business capabilities?


11:45 – 12:45        Panel 2 Moderated Discussion

Moderated by Dr Roger Kangas, Professor of Central Asian Studies, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies 

  • Marco Forgione, Director General, Institute of Export and International Trade
  • John Patterson OBE, Chairperson, British Chamber of Commerce Azerbaijan 
  • Michael Denison, Senior International Adviser, BP
  • Charles Hendry, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change 2010-12


12:45 – 12:55         Closing Remarks


13:00 – 14:00          Lunch


Location:  Arundel House, 6 Temple Place, London WC2R 2PG