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Abstract and Figures

This data article summarises the analysis of 261 Chinese projects in Central Asia. The findings indicate that trade promotion and industrial development are the sectors where there is most BRI-related activity in Central Asia. The total number of projects in these areas approximates the number of projects in all other areas combined. These sectors also receive most investment. In terms of the number of implemented projects, roads is the second key sector, followed by energy. However, due to larger project sizes, energy receives more funds than roads. The majority of Chinese projects in Central Asia are bilateral.
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Central!Asia!Regional!Data!Review!20!(2019)!1–5.!
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BRI!in!Central!Asia:!Overview!of!Chinese!Projects!
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Farkhod!Aminjonov,a,b,*!Alina!Abylkasymova,b!Anna!Aimée,b!Bahtiyor!Eshchanov,b,c!Daniyar!
Moldokanov,b!Indra!Overland,b,d!Roman!Vakulchuk!b,d!
!!
a!College!of!Humanities!and!Social!Sciences,!Zayed!University!
b!Central!Asia!Data-Gathering!and!Analysis!Team!(CADGAT)!
c!Westminster!International!University!in!Tashkent!
d!Norwegian!Institute!of!International!Affairs!(NUPI)!
*!Corresponding!author:!F.!Aminjonov;!Email!address: farkhod.aminjonov@zu.ac.ae;!a_farkhod@yahoo.com!
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A!B!S!T!R!A!C!T!
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This!data!article!summarises!the!analysis!of!261!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia.!The!findings!indicate!that!trade!
promotion!and!industrial!development!are!the!sectors!where!there!is!most!BRI-related!activity!in!Central!Asia.!The!
total!number!of!projects!in!these!areas!approximates!the! number! of! projects! in! all! other!areas!combined.!These!
sectors!also!receive! most! investment.!In! terms! of!the! number! of! implemented!projects,! roads! is! the! second! key!
sector,! followed! by! energy.! However,! due! to! larger! project! sizes,!energy! receives!more! funds! than! roads.! The!
majority!of!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia!are!bilateral.!
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Keywords:!BRI,!China,!Central!Asia,!Kazakhstan,!Kyrgyzstan,!Tajikistan,!Turkmenistan,!Uzbekistan!
!
Background+
Chinas!main!strategic!document!devoted!to!BRI!is!
“Vision! and! Actions! on! Jointly! Building! the! Silk!
Road! Economic! Belt! and! the! 21st-Century!
Maritime!Silk!Road,”!published! in! March!2015.!As!
highlighted! in! that! document,! BRI! “is! aimed! at!
promoting!the! orderly! and! free! flow! of! economic!
factors,!highly!efficient!allocation!of!resources!and!
deep! integration! of! markets;! encouraging! the!
countries! along! the! Belt! and! Road! to! achieve!
economic! policy! coordination! and! carry! out!
broader!and!more!in-depth!regional!cooperation!of!
higher! standards;! and! jointly! creating! an! open,!
inclusive! and! balanced! regional! economic!
cooperation! architecture! that! benefits! all.”
1
!The!
definition! of! BRI!outlined! in! the! document!is! all-
encompassing!in!nature!and!it!can!be!applied!with!
equal!success! to! different! contexts.! Therefore,! the!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!
1
For!more!detail,!see:!
http://www.beltandroadforum.org/english/n100/2017/0410/c22-
45.html!!
2
!Vakulchuk,! Roman! and! Indra! Overland! (2019)! “China’s! Belt! and!
Road!Initiative!through!the!Lens!of!Central!Asia”,!in!Fanny!M.!Cheung!
term!BRI! itself!is! broad!and! general!and! it!opens!
the! room! for! a! diversify! of! meanings! and!
interpretations.!
!
What+is+a+BRI+project?!
China! has! actively! promoted! Belt! and! Road!
Initiative! (BRI)! projects! in! Central! Asia! since!
2013.
2
!However,!there! are!no!commonly!accepted!
definitions! or! key! determinants! of! what! makes!
project!part!of!BRI.!We!regard!Chinese!projects!in!
Central! Asia! as! part! of! BRI! if! they! satisfy! the!
following!criteria:!!
!
publicly!reported!as!a!BRI!project;!
fully!or!partially!financed! by! the! BRI!financial!
institutions:! Asian! Infrastructure! Investment!
Bank!(AIIB),!China!Development!Bank,!Export
Import!Bank!of!China!or!New!Silk!Road!Fund;!!
and!Ying-yi! Hong!(eds)!Regional! Connection!under!the! Belt!and! Road!
Initiative.! The! Prospects! for! Economic! and! Financial! Cooperation.
London:!Routledge,!pp.!115133.!Available!at:!!
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329310641!
Central!Asia!Data-Gathering!and!Analysis!Team!
CADGAT
Central!Asia!Regional!Data!Review!19!(2019)!1–5.!
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2!
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launched!after!the!first!announcement!of!BRI!in!
2013;!!
implemented!and!financed!in!either!a!bilateral!
format!(between!China!and!one!of!the!Central!
Asian!states)! or!a! multilateral! format! (among!
three!or!more!parties).!!
In!this!and!other!data!articles!on!BRI!(see!CADGAT!
data!articles!no.!21-27),!Chinese!projects!that!meet!
all!or!some!of!these!criteria!are!considered!part!of!
BRI.! Other!projects!are! simply! Chinese! bilateral!
projects! implemented! in! Central! Asian! countries;!
they!are!also! presented!in! this!article.!This!article!
provides! a! detailed! description! of! projects! that!
have! been!implemented,! have! been! cancelled,!or!
are!still!in!the!planning!stage.!
Data!on!the!261!projects!were!gathered!by!
one! researcher! from! each! Central! Asian! country!
and! were! drawn!from! official!statistics,! local! and!
international! media!news,! government!press!
releases,! interviews!and! reports.! Data! collection!
was!carried!out!between!August!2018!and!January!
2019.!
! We! divide! projects! into! four! major!
categories!that! correspond! to!the! four! BRI!
priorities:!(a)!rail!and!road!connectivity,!(b)!energy!
connectivity,! (c)! trade! promotion! and! industrial!
development!and!(d)!people-to-people!projects.!In!
addition,!we!have!divided!the!trade!promotion!and!
industrial! development! category! into! four! sub-
categories:!(a)!mineral!and!petroleum!exploration,!
development! and! processing! (b)! industry,! (c)!
finance! and! IT,! and! (d)! agriculture! and! food.!
Because! trade! promotion! and! industrial!
development!are!one!of!the!four!official!categories!
of!BRI! projects,! we!present! numbers!for! both! the!
main!category!!and!its!sub-categories.!
This!publication! is!part! of!a! series!of! data!
articles! on! Chinese! projects! in! Central! Asia!(see!
CADGAT! data! articles! no.! 21-27).! It!summarises!
some! key! numbers! across! sectors,! whereas! the!
other!articles! in! the! series!contain! more! detailed!
overviews!of!BRI!projects!in!specific!sectors.!All!the!
data! are! also! available! in! a! unified! database! in!
Excel!format!at:!!
http://osce-academy.net/en/research/cadgat/!
!
Definitions+
Financing+–!Sources!of!funding!for!each!project!are!
identified!and!presented.!
Commercial! interests! –! A! project! is! classified! as!
“commercial”,!if!the!parties!promoting!it!primarily!
pursue!commercial!goals.!
Strategic! interests!–!A! project! is! classified! as!
“strategic”,!if!it! fits! one!of!the! broader! categories,!
particularly!strengthening!connectivity.!
Connection! to! BRI! –! If! a! project! is! announced!
publicly!as!part!of!BRI,!then!it!is!classified!as!a!“BRI!
project”.!
Local! project!–!A! project! is! classified! as! “local”,! if!
the! infrastructure! or! facility! constructed! and!
services!provided,!are!limited!to!a!specific!country.!
Regional! project! –! A! project! is! classified! as!
“regional”,! if! it! is! part! of! the! bigger! regional!
initiative,!which!includes!more!than!one!country.!
Bilateral+–!A!project!is!classified!as!“bilateral”,!if!an!
agreement!for!project!implementation!is!signed!by!
the!Chinese!government!or!a!Chinese!company,!as!
one! party,!and! one! of! the! Central! Asian!
governments!or!companies!as!the!other.!
Multilateral+–! A! project! is! classified! as!
“multilateral”,! if! an! agreement! for! project!
implementation!is!signed!by!three!or!more!parties,!
including! the! Chinese! or! Central! Asian!
governments,! multilateral! financial! institutions!
(AIIB,! China! Development! Bank,! ExportImport!
Bank!of!China!or!New!Silk!Road!Fund)!and!private!
enterprises.!
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Central!Asia!Regional!Data!Review!20!(2019)!1–5.!
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Table!1.!Number!of!China’s!BRI!and!bilateral!projects!in!Central!Asia!
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Sectors!
Total+
number++
by+sector+
Kazakhstan+
Tajikistan+
Uzbekistan+
Turkmenistan+
Total+by+country+
261+
102!
44!
43!
26!
Trade!and!industrial!
development!
131+
61!
17!
24!
12!
Rail!and!road!connectivity!
51+
14!
16!
5!
5!
Energy!connectivity!
48+
20!
7!
12!
4!
People-to-people!projects!
31+
7!
4!
2!
5!
!
+
+
+
+
+
!
!
!
!
Table!2.!Breakdown!of!China’s!BRI!and!bilateral!trade!and!industrial!development!projects!
!
Sectors!
Total+
number++
by+sector+
Kazakhstan+
Tajikistan+
Kyrgyzstan+
!
Trade!and!industrial!
development!
131+
61!
17!
17!
Mineral!and!petroleum!exploration,!
extraction!and!processing!projects!
47+
23!
3!
9!
Industry!
44+
17!
6!
3!
Agriculture!and!food!
26+
17!
6!
2!
Finance!and!IT!
14+
4!
2!
3!
!
!
!
!
!
Table!3.!Total!investment!of!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia!(USD!mln)!
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!
!
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3
!Here!and!throughout:!“NA”!means!“no!information!has!been!found/is!available”.!
+
Total!
by!country+
Rail+and+
road+
connectivity+
Energy+
connecti
vity+
Industry++
Agricultu
re+and+
food+
Mineral+and+
petroleum+
exploration+
and+
processing+
Finance+
and+IT+
People-to-
people+
projects+
Total+by+sector+
136+251.06+
23+499.74!
35+693.8!
12+299.55!
1+451.88!
55+159.65!
8+100!
46.44!
Kazakhstan!
90!862.43!
14!539.3!
18!849.5!
10!545.5!
1!049.63!
37!778.5!
8!100!
NA!
Turkmenistan!
24!842.5!
1!402.5!
9!410!
NA!
NA!
14!03!
NA!
NA!
Tajikistan!
10!518.7!
4!515.9!
4!516!
679,8!
342!
465!
NA!
NA!
Kyrgyzstan!
5!391.68!
1!773.04!
2!713!
150.8!
31.55!
676.85!
NA!
46.44!
Uzbekistan!
4!635.75!
1!269!
205.3!
923.45!
28.7!
2!209.3!
NA!
NA!
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Central!Asia!Regional!Data!Review!20!(2019)!1–5.!
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Table!4.!Number!of!bilateral!vs.!multilateral!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia!
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Table!5.!Number!of!commercial!vs.!strategic!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia!
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+
Total!by!country!
Road+
infrastructure+
Energy+connectivity+
Trade+and+industrial+
development+
People-to-people+
projects+
!
Commerc.!
Strateg.!
Commerc.!
Strateg.!
Commerc.!
Strateg.!
Commerc.!
Strateg.!
Commerc.!
Strateg.!
Total+by+sector+
135+
126+
6+
45+
25+
23+
102+
28+
2+
29+
Kazakhstan!
70!
32!
3!
11!
10!
10!
57!
4!
0!
7!
Kyrgyzstan!
12!
34!
0!
11!
1!
4!
9!
8!
2!
11!
Tajikistan!
22!
22!
2!
14!
4!
3!
16!
1!
0!
4!
Uzbekistan!
28!
15!
0!
5!
10!
2!
18!
6!
0!
2!
Turkmenistan!
3!
23!
1!
4!
0!
4!
2!
10!
0!
5!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
Table!6.!Number!of!local!vs.!regional!Chinese!projects!in!Central!Asia!
!
+
Total!by!country!
Road+infrastructure+
Energy+connectivity+
Trade+and+industrial+
development+
People-to-people+
projects+
!
Local!
Regional!
Local!
Regional!
Local!
Regional!
Local!
Regional!
Local!
Regional!
Total+by+sector+
209+
52+
27+
24+
37+
11+
123+
7+
21+
10+
Kazakhstan!
96!
6!
13!
1!
16!
4!
60!
1!
7!
0!
Kyrgyzstan!
29!
17!
5!
6!
4!
1!
13!
4!
7!
6!
Tajikistan!
28!
16!
4!
12!
6!
1!
16!
1!
2!
2!
Uzbekistan!
39!
4!
3!
2!
11!
1!
23!
1!
2!
0!
Turkmenistan!
17!
9!
2!
3!
0!
4!
12!
0!
3!
2!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
+
Total!by!country!
Road+
infrastructu
re+
Energy+
connectivity+
Trade+and+
industrial+
development+
People-to-people+
projects+
!
Bilateral!
Multil.!
Bilateral!
Multil.!
Bilateral!
Multil.!
Bilateral!!
Multil.!
Bilateral!
Multil.!
Total+by+sector+
237+
24+
33!
18!
46!
2!
127!
3!
30!
1!
Kazakhstan!
100!
2!
13!
1!
20!
0!
60!
1!
7!
0!
Kyrgyzstan!
41!
5!
8!
3!
5!
0!
16!
1!
12!
1!
Tajikistan!
35!
9!
8!
8!
6!
1!
17!
0!
4!
0!
Uzbekistan!
38!
5!
2!
3!
11!
1!
23!
1!
2!
0!
Turkmenistan!
23!
3!
2!
3!
4!
0!
12!
0!
5!
0!
!
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Central!Asia!Regional!Data!Review!20!(2019)!1–5.!
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5!
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About+CADGAT+and+Central+Asia+Regional+Data+Review+
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The!Norwegian!Institute!of!International!Affairs!(NUPI)!and!the!OSCE!Academy!established!the!Central!Asia!Data-
Gathering!and!Analysis!Team!(CADGAT)!in!2009.!The!purpose!of!CADGAT!is!to!produce!new!cross-regional!data!on!
Central!Asia!that!can!be!used!free!of!charge!by!researchers,!journalists,!NGOs,!government!employees,!and!students,!
both!inside!and!outside!the!region.!The!data!articles!can!be!found!at!http://osce-academy.net/en/research/cadgat/!
!
The!following!CADGAT!data!articles!have!been!published:!
!
1.!Hydroelectric!dams!and!conflict!in!Central!Asia!
2.!The!narcotics!trade!and!related!issues!in!Central!Asia!
3.!Language!use!and!language!policy!in!Central!Asia!
4.!The!transportation!sector!in!Central!Asia!
5.!Road!transportation!in!Central!Asia!
6.!Gender!and!politics!in!Central!Asia!
7.!Political!relations!in!Central!Asia!
8.!Trade!policies!and!major!export!items!in!Central!Asia!
9.!Intra-regional!trade!in!Central!Asia!
10.!Trade!barriers!and!tariffs!in!Central!Asia!
11.!Holidays!in!Central!Asia.!Part!I:!Laws!and!official!holidays!
12.!Holidays!in!Central!Asia.!Part!II:!Professional!and!working!holidays!
13.!Media!in!Central!Asia:!Print!Media!
14.!Media!in!Central!Asia:!TV!
15.!Media!in!Central!Asia:!Radio!
16.!Renewable!energy!policies!of!the!Central!Asian!countries!
17.!Wind!power!potential!of!the!Central!Asian!countries!
18.!Solar!power!potential!of!the!Central!Asian!countries!
19.!Hydropower!potential!of!the!Central!Asian!countries!
20.!BRI!in!Central!Asia:!Overview!of!Chinese!projects!
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CADGAT! has! also! produced! a! database! on! Elites! in! Central! Asia,! which! can! be! found! at! http://osce-
academy.net/_dbelite/!
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©!2019!by!the!authors.!This!is!an!open!access!publication!under!the!terms!
and! conditions! of! the! Creative! Commons! Attribution! (CC! BY)! license!
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).!The!material!can!be! used!
freely,!as!long!as!a!reference!to!this!article!is!included.!
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.