This article provides crucial data on the importance of migration flows within and outside Central Asia and demonstrates the major economic and social impacts of remittances in the poorest Central Asian countries.  After having put into context the issue of remittances in a globalised world, the author, probably one of the best experts of remittances issues in Central Asia, demonstrates that Kazakhstan has become a major host country for temporary migrants coming from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.  Then, E. Sadovskaia provides data on migration trends and remittances in the sub-region and finally assesses the economic and social impact of such flows in Central Asia.  This study is a very good starting point for anybody interested in remittances issues in Central Asia.  Based on several surveys in Kazakhstan, it provides important figures:  One million of migrant workers would have worked in Kazakhstan in 2005 and, similarly, remittances from abroad were estimated to account for ¼ of the Kyrgyz GDP.  This article corroborates anecdotal evidence collected from many Central Asian regions such as Higher Badakhshan or the Fergana Valley.  Remittances play a major impact in terms of poverty reduction, income generation and even employment generation in Central Asia, due to the fact a large share of remittances is used to create small businesses.  Moreover, remittances from migrant workers play a major role in limiting social tensions in a country such as Uzbekistan.  That is also why policymakers will likely be increasingly involved in regulating labour flows in the sub-region because such massive trends started to create social tensions, for instance in several regions of Kazakhstan.  We can only hope that this work will contribute to the launching of more surveys in Central Asia for a better assessment of the social, economic and macroeconomic impacts of remittances in countries such as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan.  A value-added of this article is its bright demonstration that migrant workers flows are already a major economic and social phenomenon in the sub-region, though more work needs to be carried out in the near future for assessing with more detail the impact of such flows.

Gaël Raballand, Choiseul Institute, Paris
CER: I-8.4.A-727