What Is B5+1?
B5+1 (Business 5+1) will serve as a private-sector-led counterpart to the C5+1 (Central Asia 5+1), which is a diplomatic platform organized by the US Department of State to represent the interests of the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and the United States. The B5+1 will represent business interests in the region and promote an open public private dialogue between US and Central Asian private-sector actors on the one hand and their respective government representatives in C5+1 on the other. B5+1 takes after the examples of B7 and B20, which were co-founded by the US Chamber of Commerce and operate as the private- sector engagement platforms for G7 and G20 countries respectively.
Why Run the B5+1?
The B5+1 will be a unique platform combining country-level efforts for economic reform with greater ambition for regional economic integration. The end goal is to use public-private dialogue to identify a common vision among the private sector for economic reform goals, advocate those goals to C5+1 governments, and provide the region with greater access to innovation, foreign investment, international trade flows, and enhanced international cooperation as per the commitments of the C5+1 economic working group.
Who Runs the B5+1?
B5+1 will be initiated as part of a larger program called “Improving the Business Environment in Central Asia” (IBECA), which is administered by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE*) – an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC), under the funding from the US Department of State. CIPE will coordinate with the US Chamber of Commerce, drawing on their leadership behind the B7 and B20 platforms.
How Is the B5+1 Run?
In likeness with the B7 and B20, the B5+1 will gather business leaders, investors, financial institutions, civil-society members, non-governmental organizations, and other private-sector representatives to conduct business-to-business dialogue and build consensus on reform goals. Several tools will be used to support dialogue, including surveys, position papers, and expert assessments, among others. These products will contribute to the formation of recommendations and commitments that will then be presented in business-to-government discussions with the economic working group of the C5+1.
Where and When Will the B5+1 Run?
The forum will convene in Central Asia annually, coinciding with the C5+1 economic working group sessions, and it will operate with a rotating chairmanship. Accordingly, the responsibility to organize the program and form an agenda passes to each consecutive Central Asian country on an annual basis. This model will ensure that the B5+1 is run sustainably into the future, involves local ownership and initiative, and represents a common private-sector voice that collaborates effectively with government.
*CIPE is a non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce.