April 7 – 8, 2021


Online Conference

5th Annual Trans-Caspian Forum

Despite the major global disruptions of 2020, the Trans-Caspian Trade and Transit Corridor remains at the center of European and Asian connectivity. Comprised of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey to the west, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan to the east of the Caspian Sea, the corridor serves as an essential overland route linking the European Union, China, India, and the Middle East. After a year when global connections came under incredible strain due to a raging pandemic and ailing economy, the Great Caspian Region must be poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities to boost connectivity.


Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the change in Washington from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration will be a considerable difference between 2020 and 2021 for the Greater Caspian Region. While much of the U.S. policy towards the region will remain the same, President Biden’s government will mean a number of key shifts. These differences will not only have significant implications for 2021, but for the coming four years of U.S. relations with the countries of the Caspian region.


As the countries of the Greater Caspian Region manage the profound changes brought on by the COVID- 19 pandemic, governments and the private sector must cooperate to usher in a period of renewed economic growth. Encouraging infrastructure investment and innovation will be critical to the recovery of economic sys- tems in the Caspian and around the world. In some sectors, work will return to the way it was before the pan- demic, while in others fundamental changes will not be reversed. The Trans-Caspian countries must find a way to harness these new opportunities and deliver economic results for their people.


A cornerstone of the post-COVID recovery will be a robust commitment to hard and soft infrastructure development. The Trans-Caspian Corridor’s success as a bridge between the surrounding regions rests on the Caspian countries’ collective ability to build safe and reliable infrastructure. Multimodal transport hubs are es- sential for moving cargo across the region’s varied geography, and governments will need to work to build investment climates that will attract the large sums needed to launch new projects. Efforts like the Blue Dot Network could prove to be major boons for the region as it looks to diversify its portfolio of investors and broaden its reach as it seeks to tap new capital markets.


Long the foundation of the Trans-Caspian Corridor, the energy trade in the region is also rapidly chang- ing. Supply overhangs for oil and gas resulted in low prices in 2020, causing considerable problems for the hydrocarbon sector. At the same time, the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline marked the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor and the beginning of Caspian energy exports to the European Union. The makeup of Caspian energy is also set to change as the region contends with the energy transition. The region holds massive potential in the renewable energy sector, and with responsible leadership can retain its status as a major player in the energy industry even as the importance of hydrocarbons diminishes. By bringing solar, wind, and hydro- power into the picture alongside oil and gas, the Caspian region will be well-positioned for the evolving market ahead.


Policy and business leaders from the United States and the Trans-Caspian corridor countries will come together at the 5th Trans-Caspian Forum on April 7-8, 2021, to discuss opportunities and challenges in enhancing their strategic engagement and prosperity and explore current and future business, trade, and investment oppor- tunities to the benefit of all concerned. The Caspian Policy Center and the Embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan are the co-organizers of the Forum.

Sponsors and Partners

9:00 – 9:05 am    Opening Remarks – Efgan Nifti, Chief Executive Officer, Caspian Policy Center

9:05 – 9:30 am   Ambassadorial Welcome Remarks
  • Afghanistan, Roya Rahmani
  • Azerbaijan, Elin Suleymanov
  • Georgia, David Bakradze
  • Kazakhstan, Erzhan Kazykhanov
  • Kyrgyzstan, Bolot Otunbaev
  • Tajikistan, Farrukh Hamralizoda
  • Turkey, Murat Mercan
  • Turkmenistan, Meret Orazov
  • Uzbekistan, Javlon Vakhabov


9:30 – 09:45 am   Keynote StatementsHigh-level officials from the U.S. Government

  • Senior Representative (Undersecretary) for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Representative (Assistant Secretary), Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Representative (Assistant Secretary), Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Representative, National Security Council, United States


9:45 – 10:30 am    Panel 1 – Ministerial Roundtable – U.S. – Caspian strategic partnership

  • U.S. Reengagement with the Caspian region 
  • Strategic Cooperation by Sector
  • Economic Diversification and Investment
  • Overview of Policy Properties
  • New Challenges and Opportunities for Strengthening Cooperation
  • Economic Recovery amid COVID
  • New Challenges and Opportunities for Strengthening Cooperation

Panel Speakers:

  • Afghanistan, Ministerial level representative
  • Azerbaijan, Ministerial level representative
  • Georgia, Ministerial level representative
  • Kazakhstan, Ministerial level representative
  • Kyrgyzstan, Ministerial level representative
  • Tajikistan, Ministerial level representative
  • Turkey, Ministerial level representative
  • Turkmenistan, Ministerial level representative
  • Uzbekistan, Ministerial level representative


Ambassador (ret.) Richard Hoagland, Advisory Board Member, Caspian Policy Center

10:30 – 11:00 am   Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30 pm   Panel 2 – Trans-Caspian Connectivity and Infrastructure Development

  • Promotion of Intra-regional Connectivity and Trade
  • Safe Transportation Routes and Roadmap to Reopening
  • Infrastructure Development Financing
  • Best Practices for Creating Strong Institutional Frameworks
  • Fostering Private Sectoring Engagement

Panel Speakers:

  • Senior Representative, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
  • Senior Representative (Assistant Secretary for Global Markets), U.S. De- partment of Commerce
  • Senior Representative, Astana International Financial Center
  • Senior Government/Company Representatives from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan


Read Admiral (ret.) Ron MacLaren, Advisory Board Member, Caspian Policy Center


9:00 – 10:30 pm    Panel 3 – Trans-Caspian as a Global Hub for Energy Supplies, Security, and Sustainability:

  • Post-COVID Energy Market
  • Energy Transition
  • Development of Renewable Sources of Energy


Panel Speakers:

  • Senior Representative (Assistant Secretary) for Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Representative, BP
  • Senior Representative, SOCAR
  • Senior Representative, KazMunayGas
  • Senior Representative, Renewable Energy Company
  • Senior Government/Company Representatives from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan


Ambassador (ret.) Robert Cekuta, Advisory Board Member, Caspian Policy Center


10:30 – 11:00 am   Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30 pm   Panel 4 – Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

  • Healthcare Innovation and Telemedicine
  • Telecommunication and Information Technology
  • Digital Economy and E-commerce
  • Promotion of Youth and Women Entrepreneurship

 – Senior Representative, U.S. Agency for International Development

 – Senior Government/Tech Company Representatives from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan


Efgan Nifti, Chief Executive Officer, Caspian Policy Cente
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