RUSSIA/CIS RISKWATCH – ISSUE 11 – JANUARY 2017
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Welcome to this, the 11th edition of the Russia/CIS RiskWatch Newsletter.
A couple of weeks ago some media reported the departure of a train for London. Nothing unusual in that you might think, but the train in question is travelling 12,000km, across seven countries, and is the first ever rail freight service to link China (the train's point of departure was Beijing) and London.
In this edition, we discuss one of the greatest industrial initiatives of recent times, destined to revolutionise global trade flows by creating new land and sea transport hubs and corridors across the Eurasian landmass, in the process creating jobs and infrastructure, and changing lives for hundreds of millions of consumers. I'm talking of course of China's ambitious 'One Belt, One Road' ('OBOR') project, often dubbed the 'New Silk Road'. Best described as a forward-looking strategy rather than a single cohesive infrastructure project, it is an unprecedented projection of economic and diplomatic might, integrating China's export-dominated production industries with consumer markets across the world. The 'belt' includes countries on the original Silk Route, through Central and South Asia and into Europe, while the 'road' includes a network of ports creating a maritime 'silk road' linking China with South Asia, the Middle East and East Africa. The scale of the ambition sets it alongside such industrial marvels as the creation of the Suez Canal in the 19th century, and the Panama Canal in the 20th century.
But such major changes to the status quo can be disruptive and controversial, and OBOR is no different. There have been community disturbances in a number of countries along the route, including Kazakhstan and, just last week, Sri Lanka. Networking across such varied political, social, economic and geographic environments creates a volatile risk profile for businesses and individuals which needs to be addressed. In this edition, I am delighted to present three Control Risks experts presenting their analysis of the risks and opportunities across the OBOR project, including the views from China, Kazakhstan and a practical summary for risk mitigation.
As ever, we welcome your feedback on anything you have seen or read in this newsletter, as well as suggestions for future topics. May I also take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very successful 2017.
Senior Partner, Control Risks Russia/CIS