China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is widely expected to help promote Eurasian economic integration. Two of China’s six planned BRI economic corridors will run through the sprawling Central Asia and South Caucasus (CASC) region. How can CASC countries gain the most economic benefits of BRI while managing the financial and social risks?
Informed by background notes prepared by CASC region experts who have unique insights about BRI projects, the authors argue that potential benefits include greater regional connectivity, higher growth and fiscal revenues, technology transfers, and jobs.
However, countries also need to manage risks such as unsustainable debt burdens, greater dependence on natural resources, and environmental and social challenges. The authors recommend that CASC countries work together to ensure regional coherence, learning, and leverage, and that BRI investments be transparent and integrated with national plans.