Key Emerging Markets
Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine
Agriculture, Construction, Defence, Energy, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail
Emerging Europe (EME), comprising of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), is a region comprising of primarily ex-Soviet Bloc and USSR nations. Despite a long history of cultural and political conflicts, past relations to the Soviet Union serve as a single similarity across these nations. Following the dissolution of the USSR on December 26, 1991, the desire for ethnic consolidation spurred on distinct segregation of these individual nations. Spanning across the Balkans, the Caucasus region and to Central Asia, the region now comprises of 23 countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
Stability of Region
EME is a politically complex region to navigate and remains beset by instability due to underdevelopment and diverse socioeconomic composition. Distrust towards Russia has increased following the annexation of Crimea and assassination attempt on political rival Alexei Navalny. Apart from the more widely known conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan remain at unease over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. This comes on the back of the rising threat of terrorism in Central Asia and political transition in various countries. However, a bright spot may lie in the rising diplomacy prowess of Kazakhstan, which could play a crucial role in maintaining stability in the region.
Due to her endowment in natural resources such as hydrocarbons and a wide range of metals, EME remains largely supported by primary industries. The agricultural sector is another key economic driver for Ukraine and several Central Asian countries. While trade barriers have been lowered through the CIS FTA agreement, the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union could further boost regional integration with its targeted creation of a common market for the free flow of labor, capital, and goods by 2025 for countries that do not hold European Union membership. Diversification into sunrise industries as well as export partners in the East could entail greater headroom for economic growth.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Russia’s slow economic recovery from 2014 was stunted, facing a GDP contraction of 3.0% in 2020. The oil-reliant nation was hit severely by the slump in oil prices as the global demand for energy plummeted, while its own industries faced labour unavailability amidst lockdowns. Early 2021 economic signs such as employment rate recovery and a resilient banking sector sets the country on a positive path, although uncertainty in structural reforms may threaten this projection.