http://www.oecd.org/media/oecdorg/styleassets/images/header/logooecd_en.pngToday’s post is by Antonio Somma and Vanessa Vallée of the OECD Global Relations Secretariat’s Private Sector Development Division
Seen from a sweltering hotel lobby surrounded by palm trees, the view could be considered somewhat surprising. Turquoise beach? Sand covered surfers? No, try a snow swept tundra and ultra modern skyscrapers plated with 10-story TV screens. We’re in Astana, Kazakhstan and it’s February. Welcome to today’s Eurasia, land of contrasts.
Twenty-five years ago the story was different.  Most of the thirteen economies of Eurasia taking part in the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme shared the same Soviet institutions which kept a lid on economic, political and social differences. Today the lid is off and divergences between countries are growing as they race to find a place in the global economy. Take the income gap: in 1990, average GDP per capita for the region was $4670 USD with the richest country four times better off than the poorest. By 2010, the gap had widened to almost seven times (if Afghanistan is excluded) between the region’s growth leader, Belarus, and Tajikistan. Read more...