Les promesses de l'Asie centrale

Ces temps-ci, les médias parlent souvent de l'Asie centrale, et la plupart du temps de manière négative. On en retient l'image d'une région constituée de pays enclavés, pauvres et isolés - le Kazakhstan, le Kirghizistan, le Tadjikistan, le Turkménistan et l'Ouzbékistan - qui ont dilapidé leurs ressources naturelles, souffrent de pollution et sont affligés d'un système politique datant de l'ère soviétique.

Mais c'est aussi une région qui a connu à l'époque de la Route de la soie une économie florissante et une grande richesse culturelle. Elle est devenue récemment le centre d'une rivalité entre les grandes Puissances qui n'est pas sans rappeler la Guerre froide. L'Asie centrale peut-elle retrouver un rôle clé au centre de cet énorme territoire euroasiatique, entourée par quelques-uns des pays les plus dynamiques de la planète sur le plan économique : la Chine, la Russie et l'Inde ?

Si la communauté internationale fait un effort méritoire pour aider l'Afrique à échapper à sa dépendance à l'égard de ses principaux donateurs dans la prochaine décennie, le défi tout aussi important auquel est confrontée Asie centrale en termes de développement économique et de sécurité humaine reste largement incompris. L'Histoire et la géographie (il suffit de considérer la distance au port maritime le plus proche) contribuent à isoler ces pays physiquement, économiquement et socialement, exacerbant leur difficulté de passage à une économie de marché. C'est ce qui explique que leurs indicateurs de développement et de bonne gouvernance sont proches de ceux des pays d'Afrique sub-saharienne.

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