REGIONAL COOPERATION IN CENTRAL ASIA AS SEEN FROM UZBEKISTAN
Jahangir Kakharov, Lecturer at Westminster University in Tashkent and the National University of Uzbekistan (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
The UNDP report for 2005 described the Central Asian economies of Soviet times as closely connected with the rest of the Soviet Union at the expense of their cooperation with the outside world. There is the opinion that the considerable investments of the Soviet period in physical infrastructure and human capital have somewhat improved the standard of living in this part of the Soviet world. The improvements, however, arrived with devastating effects on the environment and the region’s culture.
In 1991, the new states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) with a total population of about 60 million rose from the ruins of what was once called the Soviet Union. The squabbles among some of these Soviet successor-states undermined regional trade and damaged the water and energy systems.
Here I have undertaken an analysis of two important aspects of regional cooperation—trade and energy—using Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as examples. The main question is: What is interfering with closer regional cooperation in both fields and what should be done to improve the situation.
To move forward the Central Asian economies should use their advantages and turn them into development factors: (a) the communicational, transportation, and energy infrastructure inherited from the Soviet Union makes a coordinated regional approach indispensable; (b) ecological problems call for concerted regional efforts; (c) the region’s potential attractiveness for foreign and………………