The Biden-Harris administration launched the Economic Resilience Initiative in Central Asia (ERICEN) in September 2022 to catalyze transformative economic growth across Central Asia in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine. The United States provided $25 million in FY 2022 funding to diversify trade routes, expand investment in the region, and increase employment opportunities by providing the populations of Central Asia with practical skills for a modern job market. Working with Congress, the United States intends to add $20 million in FY 2023 funding to expand programming under ERICEN. The United States is also planning to provide $5 million to support regional connectivity through economic and energy programs, for a total of $50 million in regional programs.
ERICEN has three key pillars:
Expanding Trade Routes
- Expand alternative trade routes, increase shipping capacity, and enhance cross-border E-payment systems.
- Enhance infrastructure along Trans-Caspian trade routes.
- Identify logistics bottlenecks and make recommendations to governments and the private sector to improve critical port, rail, and maritime logistics hubs in Central Asia.
Bolstering the Private Sector
- Facilitate the movement of Western multinational companies to Central Asia and provide additional employment opportunities.
- Support connectivity among businesses to ensure their access to new markets, focusing on key sectors with growth potential.
- Work with private sector companies in Central Asia to enhance their cyber security, with a view to better integrating Central Asia firms into regional and global value chains and improving trade with the United States.
Investing in People through Training and Education
- Expand English language education for young professionals across Central Asia to build a skilled English-speaking workforce, which increases competitiveness in global markets, promotes national economic strength, and supports bilateral trade.
- Train or retrain Central Asia’s workforce, including returning labor migrants, in entrepreneurship and skills in high demand such as truck driving, increasing their ability to work in markets throughout and beyond Central Asia.
The following U.S. government agencies are collaborating to implement this initiative:
- U.S. Agency for International Development
- U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Project
- U.S. Department of State