All 23 economies of emerging Europe are set to record positive growth in 2018, led by Georgia, whose GDP is seen as growing by more than 4.2 per cent. Even Azerbaijan, whose economy has contracted for the past two years, is seen as returning to modest positive growth in 2018. The regional outlook is stable, but a couple of places, notably Romania, are giving cause for concern.
In April, news broke of a widespread anti-gay purge in Chechnya; in September, gay men and transgender women were rounded up in Azerbaijan; and in October reports emerged that a registry of gay men and lesbians was being compiled by the authorities in Tajikistan. How might we understand these disparate events as part of a trend in these three former Soviet countries?
Eastern Europe and Central Asia has closed on average 71 per cent of its gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Overall, 68 per cent of the global gender gap has been closed, a slight deterioration on 2016 and 2015, when the gap was 68.3 per cent and 68.1 per cent respectively.
Georgia is the easiest place in emerging Europe to do business, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which compares conditions for doing business in 190 countries across the world. Among the top 20, Georgia, with a ranking of 9th, has implemented the highest number of business regulation reforms since the launch of Doing Business in 2003—a total of 47.
On October 12 the Armenian government formally approved a proposal to sign an agreement “between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Government of the Russian Federation to provide a state export loan.” Armenia is to use the loan, which values 100 million US dollars, to purchase modern arms from Russia.
The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey jointly launched a new rail link on October 30, connecting the three countries and in the process creating a freight and passenger line from Central Asia to Europe which bypasses Russia.
The Czech passport is the most powerful of those issued by the 23 countries of emerging Europe. According to the most recent Passport Index, it is ranked eighth globally and allows its holders to travel visa-free to 152 countries around the world. The Hungarian passport is the second most powerful in the region, the only difference to the Czech equivalent being its failure to offer visa-free travel to Lesotho.
Economic growth in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) will be 2.2 per cent in 2017, the strongest growth in six years, and 0.3 percentage points above May’s expectations. According to the World Bank’s latest Regional Economic Update, Migration and Mobility in Europe and Central Asia, ECA economies are showing more rapid growth than previously expected with a GDP almost twice the average growth in the European Union. Continue reading Despite Public Anxieties, Migration is Playing a Key Role in ECA Growth
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of chairing a panel of thought leaders and industry experts at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London. The subject matter was centred on the ICT industry in the Ukraine specifically, and the broader Central and Eastern European (CEE) region in general. Continue reading Is the CEE Region About to Steal the Outsourcing Crown From India?
Switzerland, Singapore and the United States once again occupy the podium places in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. A number of CEE countries rank in the top 50, the highest of which is Estonia (29th), followed by the Czech Republic (31st), Lithuania (35th), Poland (36th) and Azerbaijan (37th). Albania improved its ranking the most, moving up 13 places to 80th. In general, however, all other CEE countries showed clear signs of an economic slowdown. Continue reading Estonia Leading CEE Country in WEF Competitiveness Index
Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has announced expansion plans both on the ground and in the air. The state-run carrier, with its head office and flight operations at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, wants to create a free economic zone on the airport’s territory Continue reading Growth Continues for State-Owned Azerbaijan Airlines
Some eight years since its launch, the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) continues to offer up a mixed bag of results, including both achievements and failures. Continue reading Under Promise, Over Deliver: Prospects for the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2018