Central Asia remains one of the untapped markets at the heart of Eurasia. With the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan post-2014, official attention on the region will decrease despite the fact that opportunities presented by the region remain. Central Asia poses a complicated business environment, with a challenging political landscape, security concerns, complex legal regulation, as well as a growing footprint from the regional powerhouse China. Despite this, it is Western investment and attention that the Central Asian powers seek. Understanding the interconnection between security, stability and prosperity is key to seeing the region’s future. Charles Hendry, Member of Parliament, will offer some insights into the region based on his experiences as the Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and extensive travel in the region.
Professor Charles Hendry MP has been a Conservative Member of Parliament for Wealden since 2001 and was Minister of State for Energy from May 2010 until September 2012. He was previously the Conservative Party’s spokesman on energy issues, holding the portfolio longer than any previous Minister. Since leaving Ministerial office, he has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh (in both the Business School and the Academy of Government) and the Prime Minister has appointed him as his Trade Envoy to the Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In this role, he has led around a dozen trade and business missions to the three countries, working closely with the Foreign Office and UK Trade & Investment. He is advising the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey MP, on ways to drive up UK content in the oil and gas industry. He is President of the Advisory Board of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce; President of the leading fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action; President of the British Institute of Energy Economics and an Honorary Fellow of the Energy Institute. He has also held the business, higher education and youth portfolios for the Conservative Party; as well as the role of Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Prior to entering Parliament, Charles had his own communications consultancy, supporting chairmen and chief executives in their corporate networking. He was Chief of Staff to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague MP, when he became Leader of the Conservative Party.