The 2021 visiting fellow Sobir Kurbanov researched how Fergana Valley can drive economic prosperity and growth for the entire Central Asia. He writes that challenges include the legacy of vague borders causing tensions over shared natural resources and infrastructure amid high population density, high levels of poverty and environmental degradation. Additionally, various trade and non-trade barriers have been imposed by bordering countries, also infrastructure and logistical deficiencies contribute to economic fragmentation and complicate the prospects for cooperation.
The author suggests horticulture to be considered for regional competitive value chain development to drive growth in the Valley. Further, he proposes comparative analysis of successful approaches from South Asia and Africa to address barriers and promote regional integration. The paper concludes with the proposed roadmap of locally relevant recommendations on how to transform the region into an important hub for growth and connectivity in Central Asia. It is expected that the paper will help identify entry points to inform the relevant government policies, potential development partner programming, and private sector investment to promote regional cooperation in Fergana Valley.