The Chinese influence on development in post-Soviet Central Asia
Heiko Fritz, universitetslektor i freds- och utvecklingsstudier
Brief description of the project
Since adopting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Chinese foreign policy in post-Soviet Central Asia has rested on three sources of power: hard power (military cooperation), economic power (foreign direct investment and trade), and soft power (culture and education). Whilst scholars have put much emphasis on the political and economic motives of China behind BRI as well as on the implications for global power relations, less attention has been given to the tangible and intangible impact on the Central Asian economies. This paper seeks to close this gap.
The aim of the paper is to assess the short term and long term impact of the BRI on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The first part of the paper provides an overview of the recent economic development of the five countries and challenges ahead. The second part maps the engagement of China in each country. This demonstrates that the pattern of Chinese engagement differs significantly in the region partly reflecting different economic structures of the five countries. Based on a broad definition of development, the third part of the paper seeks to assess the potential impact of the Chinese engagement on development in BRI countries. The paper concludes with policy recommendations.