Since 2005, the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) has served as a leading platform for cross-border economic dialogue, trust building, and action in Central, South, and Southwest Asia. The RECCA Academic Forum is a platform for scholars, policy analysts and policy makers from across the region in identifying opportunities and challenges, and responding to the barriers that hinder economic cooperation across the wider region. At the same time, as the name suggests, a special place in the discussions is given to Afghanistan as a country located in the center of a vast region and due to a number of problems inside the country that influence the formation of integration policies in neighboring countries and in a wider region.
During the Forum, participants from different countries discussed current regional processes that are already being implemented or under discussion in the region in which Afghanistan is involved. In particular, a new assessment was made of such major infrastructure projects and regional initiatives as:
- Energy (TAPI, CASA 1000, TAP 500, Afghanistan-Tajikistan gas pipeline);
- Transport networks (One Belt One Road Initiative, Lyapis-Lazuli trade and transit route, Five-way railway corridor, Afghanistan railway network);
- Simplification of trade and transit procedures (Implementation of the Agreement on Transit Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Special Economic Zones, regional cooperation in the field of customs and border management, opportunities for participation in the EEU);
- Private partnership and labor support.
In general, all participants stressed the need for more active cooperation in the region, both through bilateral mechanisms, and through a number of existing integrational organizations.
A report on "Kyrgyzstan's experience for finding ways for cooperation" was presented from the NISI KR. The report reflected a number of projects in Kyrgyzstan that may be of interest to both the Afghan side and other countries.