COVID-19 in the Caspian Region: Implications for Economic Well-Being and Growth
The countries of the Caspian region face difficult economic issues as a result of the global pandemic but can also use this situation to make decisions that positively shape their future wellbeing. The current difficulties are real; as the IMF World Economic Outlook 2020 notes, “As a result of the pandemic, the global economy is projected to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020, much worse than during the 2008–09 financial crisis.” Governments have launched various fiscal and other policy responses to reduce the effects of the economic crisis. Global financial institutions and international organizations have initiated technical assistance and financial support to help countries recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
As challenging as the current situation is, governments and international institutions are also keeping an eye on how to position countries as the global economy reopens. Strong cooperation, coordination, and assistance on both global and regional scale will be important to the Caspian region’s recovery as will policies based on sound economic principles. Steps taken today, e.g. to take advantage of the focus on the need to strengthen and diversify supply chains, will be crucial to Caspian countries’ effective recovery as well as to their future competitiveness in what may well be an altered global economy.
The Caspian Policy Center, in coordination with the Embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, will bring together ministerial-level representatives as well as senior representatives of the U.S. government and international financial institutions, including the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the International Monetary Fund, and foreign policy specialiststo discussthe situation in the region and prospects for recovery and resilience of their economies in the face of the pandemic. Specific topics will include the economic effects of the COVID-19 and sharing thoughts on concrete steps the countries can and should take for the region’s economic recovery. The conference will be an opportunity to explore actions the countries and international entities can use to bolster cooperation, financial support, technical assistance and capacity building collaboration in response to the damage caused by the pandemic.
09:00 – 9:05 Welcome remarks – Efgan Nifti, Executive Director, Caspian Policy Center
09:05 – 10:40 Panel discussion and Q&A session
- Ambassador (ret.) Robert F. Cekuta – Member of the Board, Caspian Policy Center
- David Meale, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State
- Caleb McCarry, Counselor to the Chief Executive Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
- Ajmal Ahmadi, Acting Governor of Central Bank and Senior Advisor to the President, Afghanistan
- Rovshan Najaf, Deputy Minister of Economy, Azerbaijan
- Beka Liluashvili, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Georgia
- Baur Bektemirov, Chief Economist, Astana International Finance Center, Kazakhstan
- Fuat Kasımcan, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Trade, Turkey
- Shukhrat Vafaev, Deputy Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade, Uzbekistan
- Natalia Tamirisa, Advisor for Middle East and Central Asia and Mission Chief for Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, International Monetary Fund
- Senior Ministerial Representative for Economy/C-level Business Representative from Uzbekistan
- Esmira Jafarova, Deputy Chairman of the Center of Analysis of International Relations, Azerbaijan
10:40 – 10:45 Closing remarks