Trending Headlines from the Caspian, November: 8, 2021
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Nov 8, 2021
Energy and Economy
Tajik Labor Migration to Russia Hits Historic High
So far this year, approximately 1.6 million Tajik citizens, or around one-quarter of Tajikistan’s working-age population, have entered Russia to work. The number of Tajik labor migrants to Russia in prior years has usually been estimated at around 1 million people. In 2019, the remittances Tajik migrants sent from Russia exceeded $2.6 billion, equivalent to approximately 28 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP.
Tajikistan Joins Kazakhstan-Initiated Green Bridge Partnership Program
As part of COP26, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan joined the Green Bridge Partnership Program to find ways to address the climate challenges in Central Asia. The program is an international environmental initiative that aims to promote the transfer of technologies, knowledge sharing, and financial support to create sustainable economies and new long-term green jobs.
Source: Caspian News
Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Proposes Establishing EU–Central Asia Business Council
Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, proposed to set up a European Union-Central Asia Business Council at the European Union-Central Asia Economic Forum in Bishkek on November 5. As part of the initiative, Prime Minister Mamin urged the forum participants to focus on infrastructure connecting Central Asia and the European Union, and new generation transport chains. He also added that Kazakhstan is ready to cooperate with Europe on environmental initiatives.
Source: Astana Times
Azerbaijan Negotiates with New European Gas Buyers Amidst Energy Crisis
After a sharp rise in fuel prices worldwide, new potential buyers of natural gas from Europe have turned to Azerbaijan. According to Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazo, governments and companies in the east and south of Europe have expressed interest in buying gas from Azerbaijan. He noted that with skyrocketing gas prices and a limited flow from Russia the likelihood of new contracts is high.
EBRD Expects Central Asian Economies to Grow by 4.9 Percent in 2021
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is expecting Central Asian economies to grow by an average of 4.9 percent in 2021, according to its Regional Economic Prospects (REP). The region is expected to continue growing by approximately 4.8 percent in 2022. The report notes that in 2021, growth was driven by the gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Increased lending to businesses and households was another major factor.
Source: AKI Press
EU Launches Campaign on Energy Efficiency in Georgia
The European Union has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about energy efficiency in Georgia. The campaign’s goal is to support green initiatives throughout the country and encourage private sector participation. Clean energy transition to decrease greenhouse gas emissions will be put in focus. The EU’s contributions include supporting businesses’ new energy efficiency measures, and renovating a number of schools and public buildings.
Security and Politics
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Travels to the South Caucasus
Newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, Erika Olson, travelled to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia this past week and met with U.S. Chiefs of Mission and senior government stakeholders in the region. The visit was designed to foster stronger bilateral relations between the United States and the countries in the South Caucasus and foster closer engagement.
Source: Department of State
United States Supports Azerbaijan Demining Efforts
The United States has allocated $500,000 towards Azerbaijani demining efforts. The money will be used to support the capacity of demining organizations and to clear minefields. The United States’ continued support for demining efforts will help decrease the possibility of civilian causalities because of unexploded ordinances.
Kazakhstani Chairman of the Majlis and Marshal of the Senate of Poland Held Meeting to Discuss Increased Cooperation
Chairman of the Kazakhstani Majlis Nurlan Nigmatulin met with Tomasz Grodzky, the Marshal of the Senate of Poland. The meeting was focused on reinforcing and expanding cooperation between the two states and addressed the strong ties in political dialogue, trade, economics, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation. The Kazakhstani and Polish representatives expressed interest in assisting each other’s Parliaments in strengthening legislative frameworks and developing inter-parliamentary cooperation.
Meeting Between Tajik and Kyrgyz Officials Offers Hope at Resolution of Border Issues
The two delegations met in order to hold talks about improving cooperation on issues such as border security and stability in surrounding districts, prevention of conflicts, and avoiding illegal infrastructure construction in contested areas. A key issue discussed was the use of water resources and irrigation systems, which is an excellent development in light of recent border clashes over scarce water resources.
President of Kyrgyzstan Met with the Secretary General of the Turkic Council
Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov received the Secretary General of the Turkic Council Baghdad Amreev in order to discuss closer relations between Kyrgyzstan and the Council. The meeting was focused on preparing for the upcoming Council meeting, as well as creating deeper ties between Turkic speaking states. Additionally, discussion also included the logistics and conditions of placement of the Cooperation Council Investment Fund in Bishkek.
Russian Special Operations Forces are Set to Conduct More Military Drills in Tajikistan
Russia’s Central Military District has confirmed that it will be conducting special operations drills in Tajikistan. The Russian Central Military District is active at several bases in Central Asia, including the 201st military base in Tajikistan, the Kant base in Kyrgyzstan and units in Kazakhstan. The 201st base in Tajikistan is Russia’s largest military base outside Russia. The increase in Russian military operations are due to the worsening security situation as a result of events in Afghanistan, and the exercises are aimed at strengthening Tajik domestic and border security.
Two US Ships Make Port Call to Georgia to Demonstrate Commitment to Black Sea Allies
The USS Mount Whitney and USS Porter arrived in the port of Batumi, Georgia as a show of commitment from the United States and NATO in supporting Georgia as an ally for peace in the region. Georgia has been a significant partner with NATO in maintaining Black Sea security, and the United States has made several port calls over the years to reinforce cooperation and strengthen the relationship between the militaries and reinforce NATO’s commitment to stability in the region.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, AKI Press, Astana Times, Azernews, Caspian News, Department of State, Eurasianet, Inform, Kaktus, Trend, )