Since its inception in 2005, RECCA has grown significantly both in terms of its structure as well as its scope of activities. In the second decade of RECCA’s journey, efforts are being directed towards helping RECCA grow in impact. In support of this over-arching goal, the RECCA platform has undertaken serious economic analysis toward reviewing progress of Afghanistan’s regional economic cooperation priorities and understanding the potential returns on growth, jobs, and public revenue from agreed regional investment opportunities.RECCA has also invested increasingly in the role of the private sector, scholars, and youth in both shaping and implementing regional cooperation policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan, including through Business and Academic Forums, trade shows, and student essay contests.
During the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII), from 14-15 November in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, a new RECCA 2.0 vision and approach has been rolled out to consult governments and non-governmental partners across the region and beyond to ensure that the RECCA platform can better provide practical kinds of utility to the entire region of Central, South, and Southwest Asia, including through the development of a truly regionally-led and owned economic cooperation strategy.
As H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, writes in his opening message of the RECCA Annual Review 2017:
It is my earnest conviction that with our new approach, as described in these pages under the heading of ‘RECCA 2.0’—and with the continued support from regional and international partners—our dynamic journey over the next two years will move us closer towards realizing our common vision for deepened connectivity and expanded trade across the region.
Major elements of this innovative new direction for the RECCA platform are:
- RECCA National Focal Points pull together and support the various tracks of this new “RECCA 2.0” approach
- RECCA Center for Research & Evaluation to prepare Bankable Project Briefs for Public and Private Investors, as well as undertake other activities like state-of-the-art research and analysis on priority regional matters
- RECCA Chamber of Commerce & Industries to help mobilize governments and national chambers of commerce in support of Investment Road Shows, Business Forums, and wider B2B cooperation
- Prioritize Women’s Economic Empowerment through Regional Economic Cooperation
- Strategic Partnerships between RECCA and other regional organizations and initiatives
- RECCA Interactive Web-Portal for Regional Investment Promotion and Knowledge Sharing
- Synergies with the Afghan Government’s Infrastructure Development Council
- Moving towards a RECCA Economic Cooperation Strategy for Central, South, and Southwest Asia
Through the adoption of this new RECCA 2.0 vision and approach, the RECCA platform is poised to contribute, more than ever, to serious, technical-level problem-solving—backed-up by robust economic analysis and aggressive private sector outreach—that are together essential to unblocking regional economic cooperation bottlenecks in a timely and effective manner. By encouraging a growing number of new cross-border commercial and economic cooperation achievements, greater regional confidence and trust will follow, which are necessary to overcome long-standing disputes and misunderstandings across the region that, in effect, hold back economic and social progress for the region’s countries and their citizens. In doing so, all Central, South, and Southwest Asians are ready to unleash their full potential and contribute to a new era of prosperity and peace at the crossroads of Eurasia.