Infrastructure Challenges in Central Asia and Azerbaijan
NBR Analysis vol. 15, no. 5

Infrastructure Challenges in Central Asia and Azerbaijan

by Erica Johnson, Justin Odum, and Mark S. Johnson
December 1, 2004

In the wake of the events of September 11 and the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, U.S. interest in the Central Asian region has reached a historic high point. At the same time, the increasing authoritarianism, endemic corruption, socioeconomic inequality, widespread trafficking of drugs, weapons, and people, and weak domestic legitimacy of the five new Central Asian states raise concerns about the potential for future unrest and political radicalism in the region particularly if Central Asia’s radical Islamist movements are able to capitalize on growing social tensions.

Just how unstable are the newly independent Central Asian states? What are the prospects for cooperation among them on key issues of security and development? This issue of the NBR Analysis focuses on vital factors underlying state stability in the region that are often neglected by analysts: the troubling conditions of the region’s educational and physical infrastructures.