This research was prepared on behalf of the partnership between the National Analytic Center (NAC) at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan and Duke Global Value Chains Center (GVCC) at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA. The partnership aimed at fostering collaboration in value chain research to advance Kazakhstan’s economic performance and participation in Global Value Chains (GVCs).
The Duke GVC Center has conducted research that focuses on the Russia / CIS region. Most notably, the Center is in the midst of a three-year (2015-2017) collaboration with the National Analytical Center (NAC), an affiliate of Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. NAC established a Regional Competitiveness and Growth Center (RCGC) in November 2015 to serve as an analytical platform that informs decision-making for both public and private sectors in Kazakhstan. More information about this project is at the following link.
There has obviously been much talk in the news around Russia’s power. From an economic point of view, much of Russia’s power is associated with oil and gas. Russia is also currently the top wheat exporter in the world and trade relations contribute to food security among other countries, especially import-dependent regions in the Middle East and North Africa. This has led to some public spats. The Duke CGGC team has outlined the catalysts that have the potential of disrupting Russia’s wheat value chain internally and at a global level and what Russia needs to do about this from a policy perspective.
As part of the Center’s collaboration with the National Analytical Center (NAC), an affiliate of Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, Professor Gary Gereffi presented an overview of global value chain and development. The presentation included a section dedicated to value chains and economic diversification in Kazakhstan.
Since 2000, the Black Sea region has emerged as a major player in the wheat global value chain (GVC). In particular, Russia and Ukraine have become dominant suppliers to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) of inexpensive wheat. Private and public investment has drastically increased wheat production in the Black Sea region and has positioned Russia and Ukraine to play a vital role in improving food security in MENA. However, both Black Sea countries are encountering obstacles along the value chain that could hinder and even exacerbate food insecurity in heavily reliant countries, such as Egypt and Tunisia. This brief uses the GVC framework to dissect the differences between Russia’s and Ukraine’s wheat development strategies and possible consequences for MENA countries.