The economic crisis, the second economic shock to hit the Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus region after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been a warning and a call to action. The region has many advantages and much potential, but some of this was squandered during the boom years of the 2000s. The studies contained in this volume demonstrate that the potential is still there and that the measures that need to be taken to realise that potential are feasible and affordable. Some of them can have an almost immediate effect, such as easing access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises and opening up new markets for the region’s goods. Others are more medium-term, such as redeveloping product lines in the steel industry or in agriculture. Some of the most critical reforms, like raising the level of education and improving health care, will require political and economic investment over the long term.
None of the recommendations in this book are, however, beyond the bounds of possibility. Governments and the private sector have an interest in implementing reforms to diversify the economy and improve the distribution of revenues. Given the enormous potential of the Eastern European and South Caucasus countries, the region has every reason to be confident about its future.