In conjunction with Central Asian Free Market Institute (CAFMI), Atlas Network recently participated in an Economic Freedom Audit of the Kyrgyz Republic. Economic Freedom Audits are designed to convey the advantages of free markets to policy reformers, using data and local knowledge to craft recommendations for policy changes that will help improve the country’s ranking in the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World Index. In 2018, the Kyrgyz Republic ranked 77th out of 162 nations analyzed by the index, which ranks every country based on the degree to which their policies and institutions support economic freedom.
Recently, Kyrgyzstan and CAFMI achieved a major policy win with its “Open Skies” policy, which will allow a more market-based approach to domestic and international air travel. The country will open its airspace to foreign airlines, lowering airfares for consumers and encouraging tourism to the country. Recently adopted by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the law grants rights to transit flights and significantly limits government interference in pricing, formation of routes, and restrictions on types of aircraft and their capacities.
The “Open Skies” policy promises to strengthen Kyrgyzstan’s tourism industry, while also making air travel safer, more affordable, and more accessible. CAFMI’s founder Mirsuljan Namazaliev orchestrated the primary policy study, developed the draft law, and met with a handful of decision-makers to rally support for the legislation. Namazaliev hopes that the introduction of the policy will be part of a broader trend of economic liberalism throughout the country, with free market principles continuing to achieve significant policy wins in the future.
The mission of CAFMI is to promote the principles of free markets, the rule of law, and minimal government interference through education, research, and reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic. While stifling government regulation of the economy is gradually improving (as a legacy of a burdensome communist bureaucracy), the Kyrgyz Republic continues to struggle with the rule of law and property rights. An efficient market economy is impossible without a sound and predictable legal structure that protects property rights and contracting opportunities for all. A lack of judicial independence, impartial courts, and police reliability continue to keep the Kyrgyz Republic’s scores on the index low.
CAFMI’s Economic Freedom Forum is part of Atlas Network’s ongoing Economic Freedom Audit series, which offers opportunities to think tanks based in countries scoring in the bottom half of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report. Audits have been undertaken in Greece, Serbia, Argentina, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Oman, Panama, Jordan, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Tunisia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Brazil, the Kyrgyz Republic, Namibia, Ghana, and Nepal. Case studies have been written on the audits in Argentina, Egypt, and Venezuela.
CAFMI received an Atlas Network grant to conduct an Economic Freedom Audit in partnership with the Fraser Institute.