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The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-First Century$
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Richard Pomfret

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182216.001.0001

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Central Asia at the Center of Eurasia

Central Asia at the Center of Eurasia

Forging A New Silk Road

(p.265) 11 Central Asia at the Center of Eurasia
The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-First Century

Richard Pomfret

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter looks at the implications for Central Asia of new rail links between China and Europe, which foreshadow the region's return after half a millennium to being the central hub of Eurasia. A quarter century after independence, the hard infrastructure of roads, airports, border crossing points, and so forth, has been steadily improved. The hard infrastructure would be of limited value without substantial improvement in soft infrastructure, which has changed more slowly in Central Asia. However, there is evidence that this is starting to happen. Governments are beginning to undertake measures with the specific goal of trade facilitation. Indeed, the China–Europe Landbridge could signal a new opportunity for Central Asia. Connectivity will be improved, especially if there are multiple routes, which may be stimulated by Iran's reintegration into the global economy and Turkey's rail tunnel under the Bosporus.

Keywords:   Central Asia, rail links, China, Europe, Eurasia, hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, trade facilitation, China–Europe Landbridge, connectivity

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