PRESS RELEASE: Caspian Policy Center Hosts a Virtual Roundtable to Discuss the Blue Dot Network Initiative and Infrastructure Development Projects in the Caspian With Subject-matter Experts and Policy Practitioners from Washington and C-suite Executives from the Caspian Region
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Sep 23, 2020
Javier Piedra Javier Piedra, Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia and Dr. Kaush Arha, US G7 Sherpa for Blue Dot Network at USAID; J. Steven Dowd, U.S. Executive Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Taleh Ziyadov, Director-General of the Baku International Sea Trade Port; and many other C-suite executives joined the live discussion to talk about the potential infrastructure development projects in the Greater Caspian Region within the frameworks of the Blue Dot Network initiative.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – TODAY, the Caspian Policy Center (CPC) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), brought together senior representatives from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and C-suite executives from international financial institutions and private corporations in the Caspian region to discuss the current opportunities the Blue Dot Network (BDN)initiative presents for the infrastructure projects in the Greater Caspian Region countries, how to attract private investments for these projects, and their impact on the region’s economic, social, and cultural prosperity. The live roundtable was broadcasted in English with a synchronous translation into Russian and held in coordination with the embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan to the United States.
CPC’s Executive Director Efgan Nifti opened the event with welcome remarks that were followed by introductory comments from the webinar’s moderator Dr. Kaush Arha, US G7 Sherpa for Blue Dot Network, and remarks by Javier Piedra, Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia at USAID.
"The Caspian region has become a hotspot for infrastructure investment over the last decade. With the region’s strategic location at the juncture of Europe and Asia, and its wealth of natural resources, the Caspian has become a critical area for projects promoting global connectivity as well as local development,” said Mr. Nifti.
J. Steven Dowd, U.S. Executive Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Taleh Ziyadov, Director-General of the Baku International Sea Trade Port; Bela Ferenczi, CEO of GE Central Asia and Azerbaijan; Giorgi Pertaia, President of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and C-suite executives from the Poti Free Industrial Zone, Astana International Financial Center, SOCAR Capital, Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kazakh Invest, AE Solar AIONRISE, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, NESQOL Holding, Limak Holding, Tekfen Construction, Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce, Georgian International Road Carriers Association, PACE Group, Wings & Freeman Capital, Logistics Association, Georgian Association of Freight Forwarders, Kolin Construction, Eser Contracting, Hidromek Ltd. Co., Doğuş Construction and Trade, Gama Industry, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, and the Turkish Contractors Association participated at the virtual roundtable to talk about the BDN’s role in certifying infrastructure projects around the world, including the Caspian region that meet high standards of transparency, sustainability, and developmental impact. The aim is to give private investors the confidence to jump in and help address the massive global need for infrastructure, estimated at $94 trillion over the next two decades and to encourage the adoption of trusted standards for quality and global infrastructure development in an open and inclusive framework.
“We need to marry projects in Central Asia and the Caucasus with the project managers and investors; the Blue Dot Network is a vehicle by which we can do that,” said Mr. Piedra
“The Blue Dot is about being responsible and sustainable; it’s about making sure that the investments made produce results for people,” said Mr. McCarry.
When it comes to communication, trade, and transit routes, the Greater Caspian Region remains one of the least integrated hubs in the world and needs significant investments to promote regional connectivity and cooperation on infrastructure projects. The webinar’s moderator Dr. Kaush Arha, US G7 Sherpa for Blue Dot Network at USAID, highlighted the opportunities the BDN presents, such as matching the infrastructure projects in the Caspian region that need capital with private investments to develop free trade zones, transportation networks, telecommunications, energy production, electricity reliability, and more. He mentioned that by certifying projects that are consistent with international standards for development, the BDN seeks to help unlock funding for the region’s infrastructure needs.
“To meet the demand for infrastructure and to do it responsibly, we need to mobilize the private sector,” he said.
Since its launch in 2019, the BDN has provided a new angle to the current spree of global infrastructure projects and has the potential to help the Caspian region countries establish a broad set of partnerships around the world. The Caspian—an important and strategically located region with multiple regional and global actors—is of particular importance both for local and global investors. Countries in the Caspian region that agree to implement Blue Dot Network standards signify that their governments value high quality infrastructure that benefit local communities and need private investment funds to finance their infrastructure projects.
The roundtable participants from the private sector also raised their hands to be included in crucial discussions to make the BDN initiative a successful one for all parties. They highlighted the importance of governments directly engaging with the companies from private sector to determine how to tailor their countries’ needs to the business needs.
The webinar also promoted notable exchanges amongst the panelists on increasing resilience within the Caspian region countries’ current infrastructure projects, success stories such as the Baku International Sea Trade Port that is integral to maintaining reliable trade routes that connect the Caspian countries to global markets, and strategies implemented by the United States to contribute to the regional security and cooperation.
Watch the Full Event Recording
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 policy world from both the region and the nation’s capital interact to produce distinct ideas and insights to the outstanding issues of the Caspian region. Learn more at caspianpolicy.org
Correction: In the earlier version, Javier Piedra's role was stated as a keynote speaker. He delivered remarks during the webinar.