Home Asian News Uncertainty in post-COVID recovery in Central Asia - The Diplomat

Uncertainty in post-COVID recovery in Central Asia – The Diplomat


Uncertainty still reigns supreme, clouding the global economic outlook after the devastation in 2020. In its latest Global Economic Outlook, the World Bank revised up expectations for growth, while highlighting the deep uncertainty of such forecasts, given the mixed success in vaccine deployment and the lack of clarity on when the pandemic will subside.

In it June 2021 Global Economic Outlook In a report, the World Bank said its expectation that the global economy will grow 5.6% in 2021, “the strongest post-recession pace in 80 years.” But the recovery, the Bank said, was “unequal and largely reflective of the strong recovery in several major economies.”

The World Bank groups Central Asia with Europe in the so-called Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, which includes Central Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and Romania), the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina). , Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine), South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Russia and Turkey.

This broad range of economies can obscure different developments in different regions and economic types.

When it comes to the Europe and Central Asia region, the Bank maintains its forecasted growth for 2021 at 3.9% across the region. Central Asia (excluding Turkmenistan for good data), is below the region’s average but the outlook has improved since January, from 3% growth forecast in 2021 to 3.7% . In Central Asia, forecasts have improved but Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (with growth forecast for 2021 at 3.2% and 3.8% respectively) remain lower and Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (with growth forecast at 3.2% and 3.8% respectively) growth in 2021 is forecast to be 5.3% and 4.8%, respectively) the regional average.

“Evolution [in the ECA region] could be weaker than expected if the pandemic lasts longer than expected to ease, external financial conditions tighten, or policy uncertainty and geopolitical tensions increase further, “Report notes.

Bank of Kazakhstan comments, is expected to benefit from “modest rise in commodity prices, [and] easing OPEC+ production cuts while Uzbekistan should continue to “benefit from the implementation of an ambitious reform agenda.” In particular, Kyrgyzstan’s recovery is expected to be dampened somewhat by “increasing policy uncertainty”, while both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan could be further affected by recent border tensions. and there is a risk of future conflict.

While the overall outlook has improved slightly, the challenges and risks remain enormous. It is noteworthy that vaccination campaigns are diverse and the risk of future pandemics affecting the region cannot be ruled out. The report notes: “A number of Central Asian, Eastern European and Western Balkan countries face bottlenecks related to the production, procurement or distribution of vaccines secured through COVAX facilities or agreements. otherwise agreed”.

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