PRESS RELEASE: Caspian Policy Center Holds Discussion on the Economic Freedom in the Caspian Region
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Apr 14, 2021
Experts discussed the results of the Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom and what they mean for the Caspian region in the post-pandemic world.
Washington, D.C. — TODAY, the Caspian Policy Center (CPC) hosted a panel of experts and authors to discuss the results of this year's Index of Economic Freedom, the changes in country rankings and what they will mean for the Caspian region’s economy during the post-pandemic rebuild.
Rear Admiral (ret.) Ron MacLaren, a Senior Fellow at the Caspian Policy Center, moderated an insightful conversation among the webinar participants on the significance of economic freedom trends observed in the Caspian region.
“Business is like water; it has a tendency to take the path of least resistance, which is the most economical way to provide profit and boost the economy,” said Rear Admiral MacLaren. “When the barriers that prevent businesses from flowing are removed and economic freedom is obtained, the economy has a tendency to flourish.”
The authors of the 2021 Index, Ambassador (ret.) Terry Miller, Director of the Center for International Trade and Economics, and Anthony Kim, Research Manager and Editor of the Index of Economic Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, and Ambassador (ret.) Allan Mustard, Senior Fellow at the Caspian Policy Center who joined the conversation as a panelist, discussed the economic freedom scores of the Caspian countries and positive remarks they received in this year’s index.
“Even more important than what has happened in the last year is what has happened over the last 25 years; there has been a significant increase in economic freedom index scores, which is the result of incredible improvement in economic policies,” said Ambassador Miller.
“Every ten years or so we get hit by a global crisis. This is the unique momentum for the region as a whole to elevate its overall status as an attractive business hub and investment destination,” said Mr. Kim.
In this year’s Economic Freedom Index, Georgia’s good governance and rule of law regulations earned it 12th place. In addition to Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan were all placed among the top 40 countries on the list, acquiring the status “mostly free economies.”
The panelists also discussed the importance of regional collaboration for forging an ideal environment to promote economic freedom. They noted Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan’s unique role in bridging countries, such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, by sharing their economic freedom models and market liberalization reforms.
“Economic freedom is a function of freedom of land ownership, freedom of commerce, and freedom of capital, among other things. When land, commerce, and capital are controlled by the central government, freedom is constrained,” said Ambassador Mustard.
The positive direction of economic freedom projections in the Caspian region leaves many in the private sector hopeful. The speakers discussed the impact of improving economic freedom in luring foreign direct investment and business opportunities from Europe and the United States. In addition to highlighting the positive signs for the future of economic growth in the Caspian, they also identified reducing corruption and encouraging good governance practices as the primary areas in which the region can improve upon in the future.
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ABOUT CASPIAN POLICY CENTER
The Caspian Policy Center (CPC) is an independent, nonprofit research think tank based in Washington D.C. Economic, political, energy, and security issues of the Caspian region constitute the central research focus of the Center. CPC aims at becoming a primary research and debate platform in the Caspian region with relevant publications, events, projects, and media productions to nurture a comprehensive understanding of the intertwined affairs of the Caspian region.
With an inclusive, scholarly, and innovative approach, the Caspian Policy Center presents a platform where diverse voices from academia, business, and the policy world from both the region and the nation’s capital interact to produce distinct ideas and insights about the outstanding issues of the Caspian region. Learn more at caspianpolicy.org.
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