Kazakhstan Railways: From the Middle of Nowhere to a Center of Trade?
This case describes the evolution of Kazakhstan's rail connectivity strategy post-collapse of the Soviet Union and its now central role in China's Belt and Road Initiative. This meant shifting from a north-south orientation towards east-west, as well as the development of new border-crossing facilities, special economic zones, and a new middle route that crossed the Caspian Sea. Unlike many other BRI initiatives that involved loans from China, Kazakhstan funded the modernization and upgrade by itself. Now the question was how soon demand would grow to fill the waiting capacity, as other bottlenecks on the Trans-Eurasian land route connecting China with Europe were beyond the country's control.