18.05.2018 | The Institute of World Economy and Policy held a session on Astana Club within the framework of the Global Challenges Summit 2018 (Astana Economic Forum)

May 17, 2018 in Astana on the platform of the Astana Economic Forum, the Institute of World Economy and Policy (IWEP) at the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy held the session «ASTANA CLUB» –  «Will Big Eurasia? In search of answers to the critical challenges of geo-economics»

Today, within the framework of the Global Challenges Summit 2018 (Astana Economic Forum), the IWEP held a session «ASTANA CLUB» dedicated to the analysis of challenges and prospects for the development of Big Eurasia in the context of linking economic megaprojects – «the Belt and the Path» initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.

More than 60 leading experts on Eurasia’s geo-economics from China, Russia, the USA, France and Great Britain, as well as representatives of Kazakhstan’s research institutes, think tanks and universities took part in it.

The key speakers of the discussion were well-known experts in the world scientific and expert community: the director of the Oxford Center for Byzantine Studies and the author of the bestseller «Silk Roads. New World History» (Great Britain) Peter Francopan, Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of EEC (Russia) Tatyana Valova, Professor of the School of International and Public Relations at Shanghai University of International Studies Yang Cheng, Reconnecting Asia Project Director Jonathan Hillman, Chairman of Institut Choiseul (France) Pascal Loro.

The experts discussed a number of specific problematic aspects related to the further development of Big Eurasia against the backdrop of the growing global geopolitical tensions around Russia and Iran, which carry a number of critical challenges. It was about strengthening trade and sanctions wars, interstate and regional conflicts and other barriers.

The main question that the participants of this panel session tried to answer was: «Is there a common future for our megacontinent or do we expect a conflict of different models?».

According to Yerzhan Saltybayev, director of the Institute for Strategic Studies, IWEP, today major infrastructure projects, new international institutions, and the increasing interconnection between countries allow us to look with optimism at the future of the megacontinent. However, it is important to understand and outline the contours along which the system of international relations and economic cooperation between countries will develop.

– Big Eurasia is a key element of the global geo-economic and geopolitical reality of the modern world. Within the framework of the «Astana Club», in which leading trendsetters of the global expert community and the world political elite participate annually, we analyze the issues of the development of the modern world and the current problems existing in the space of Big Eurasia. Today, in preparation for the fourth meeting, scheduled for November, we are conducting some kind of an interim analysis based on the observed trends», E. Saltybayev stressed.

According to him, the risks of further fragmentation of the world economy are still high.

– To date, we are witnessing a new wave of sanctions confrontation around Russia and Iran, trade and currency wars, creating additional barriers to trade. However, protectionism and sanctions are a dead-end way. It is important to understand that economic globalization and expansion of world economic ties are objective. Therefore, it is difficult to overestimate the role of the two largest economic projects – «the Belt and the Path» initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union. On their basis, the rapprochement of economies and mutually beneficial strengthening of trade ties in Eurasia should take place in the future», Saltybayev said.

During the discussion, foreign experts from China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States presented their forecasts on the prospects for the formation of a common economic space, future vectors of cooperation and rivalry in Big Eurasia.

At the same time, the discussion showed that Russian, Chinese and European representatives have their own vision of many aspects of the emerging formats of trade and economic relations and the development of transport and infrastructure projects in Eurasia and the world as a whole.

Thus, the geo-economic format of the future continent, causes serious controversy. However, as all participants of the panel discussion noted, Kazakhstan, being in the very center of Big Eurasia, has the potential to become a point of assembly of the entire matrix.

Representatives of the IWEP informed that discussions on these issues will continue in November this year at the fourth meeting of the «Astana Club» with the wide participation of leading experts, politicians and diplomats from more than 20 countries.