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  • 25 Oct 2017 10:15 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya
    Safety of dams and hydropower facilities is a significant issue worldwide and one Kyrgyzstan is working to enhance.

    The Programme Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has handed over video surveillance equipment to the National Guard of the Armed Forces of Kyrgyzstan to enhance the security of the country’s strategic energy facilities.

    The facilities being secured are the 450-MW Tash-Kuymr and 800-MW Kurpsai hydroelectric power stations, part of the country’s Naryn hydropower plant cascade.

    “The Programme Office continuously supports the National Guard of Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to enhance the security of strategic facilities, which can become a possible target for criminals,” said Valeriu Chiveri, deputy head of the OSCE Programme Office. “Moreover, we closely co-operate on the prevention and effective management of emergency situations.”

    The office and National Guard have “conducted various activities over the past few years aimed at strengthening [the] country’s counter-terrorism efforts and protecting critical energy infrastructure,” OSCE said. In July 2015, the OSCE Programme Office and National Guard signed a protocol on strengthening counter-terrorism capacity. Two other large hydropower stations in the country, 240-MW Shamaldysai and 180-MW Uch-Korgon, were equipped with surveillance cameras in 2013 and 2014.

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    The most recent transfer of equipment took place within the framework of the OSCE project, “Strengthening National Capacity in Meeting the Politico-Military Commitments and Protecting Critical Energy Infrastructure.”

    For more recent news on Kyrgyzstan hydroelectricity, click here.

    Other countries, such as Spain and Bolivia, are working on the topic of dam security and safety

  • 24 Oct 2017 10:13 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

     CLIMADAPT is a US$ 10 million credit line programme

    The EBRD and its partners are awarding the best climate resilience projects financed in Tajikistan through the Climate Resilience Financing Facility CLIMADAPT programme.

    Launched in February 2016, CLIMADAPT is a US$ 10 million credit line programme and pilot initiative to facilitate access to climate resilience technologies improving the use of water, energy and land resources in Tajikistan. The credit line is operated through Tajik banks and microfinance institutions for on-lending to final beneficiaries. Partners in the programme include the government of Tajikistan, the Climate Investment Funds and the United Kingdom.

    The CLIMADAPT Awards Ceremony in Dushanbe today is recognising some of the best commercial decisions to improve the resilience and competitiveness of Tajik businesses. More than 30 beneficiaries are being awarded at the ceremony for their efforts in promoting climate resilience value chains and for demonstrating the business case for investing in high performance technologies.

    Among the winners are men and women who have adopted innovative water- and energy-efficient technologies such as drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting and water storage, solar panels and energy-efficient cold-storage facilities.

    Azimhuja Haidarov, local supplier and one of the awardees, said: "Through CLIMADAPT I was able to learn about the benefits of the efficient irrigation systems. Earlier this year I decided to take a loan to expand the irrigation product offerings in my store in order to support the availability of the irrigation equipment in my region. Within a few months sales volumes of those pipes, tubes, and fittings increased substantially and the demand from local farmers is growing. I am grateful for the support I have received from CLIMADAPT and very proud that my investment has been recognised during the award ceremony.”

    In addition to the businesses that received financing through the CLIMADAPT credit line, awards and recognition for successful implementation are given to representatives of the programme’s partner banks which have demonstrated compelling examples of championing climate resilience financing and structuring successful investments, often in very remote areas of Tajikistan.

    Special awards are given to CLIMADAPT partner organisations in acknowledgement of their outstanding contribution to, and support for, promoting and implementing climate resilience technologies.

    Neil McKain, EBRD Director for Central Asia, said: “CLIMADAPT is an example of a very successful partnership established between the EBRD and financial institutions to promote the building of climate resilience through the private sector in Tajikistan. We look forward to further supporting – together with our partners – green activities that contribute to adaptation and the competitiveness of Tajik businesses.”

    Ayten Rustamova, EBRD Head of Office in Tajikistan, said: “As of 1 October 2017 we have disbursed almost US$ 6 million to more than 2,250 households, farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises under CLIMADAPT. The programme not only helps Tajik households and businesses to cope with the effects of climate change but also, and more importantly, supports the country’s transition towards a green economy.”

    The Climadapt facility was launched by the EBRD together with the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). Technical assistance within the programme is financed by donor funds from the government of the United Kingdom and from the multi-donor EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund.*

    Anne Kuriakose, Senior Social Development Specialist at the Climate Investment Funds, said: “CLIMADAPT is one of the most innovative projects supported by the CIF’s Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience. The EBRD partnership with local banks and microfinance institutions to provide greater access to green technologies is an example of how women and men can be supported effectively to cope with the impacts of climate change. We are delighted to see so many local climate-resilient investments from across Tajikistan being recognized today for their significant impacts.”

    To date, the EBRD’s programme of financing facilities has been expanded to 127 partner financial institutions in 25 countries.

    In Tajikistan the EBRD has so far invested about €600 million (US$ 700 million equivalent) into various sectors of the economy.  

    * The Early Transition Countries Fund is a multi-donor vehicle whose contributors include: Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.

  • 13 Oct 2017 11:42 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya
    ASTANA  –  Kazakh  President  Nursultan  Nazarbayev  proposed  measures  to  modernise  the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) organisation during the Oct. 11 CIS Council of Heads of State meeting in Sochi, Russia.

    Nazarbayev  also  proposed  during  the  Supreme  Eurasian  Economic  Council  (SEEC)  meeting  a gathering in 2018 to discuss digitisation of member states and noted the importance of the Eurasian Economic Union’s (EAEU) digital agenda.

    During the CIS summit, the heads of state and government discussed strengthening cooperation as well as deepening trade and economic ties among member states.Tajikistan presented its agenda for its chairpersonship of the organisation and Turkmenistan shared ideas  to  develop  the  organisation.  The  results  of  the  work  within  the  CIS  

    President Nazarbayev stressed the CIS’ role in developing trade and economic relations among the

    member states. “Free  trade  in  services  in  the  CIS  will  open  new  opportunities  for  our  businesses  and  bring  our countries’ trade and economic cooperation to a new level. I propose to instruct the Council of Heads of  Government  and  the  Executive  Committee  to  intensify  work  on  the  draft  Agreement  on  FreeTrade in Services and to adopt it in the near future,” Nazarbayev said.

    The CIS heads of state signed documents on combating corruption and legalisation of proceeds from crime. They also considered humanitarian measures to expand ties in culture, education, science and tourism. They also adopted a statement supporting family and traditional family values. Nazarbayev attended the SEEC along with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Belarusian leader Alexander  Lukashenko,  Moldova’s  President  Igor  Dodon,  Russian  President  Vladimir  Putin, Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Sapar Isakov and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan.

    Meeting participants discussed cooperation within the EAEU and heard a report by the EEC. They also  noted  the  EAEU’s  positive  impact  on  the  member  states’  economies  and  the  importance  of enhancing integration processes.The  sides  expressed  confidence  that  the  implementation  of  the  agreements  reached  at  SEEC meetings would enhance cooperation among EAEU countries to a higher level. The specifics of the documents signed at the CIS Summit were decided upon during the Oct. 10 CIS

    Council of Foreign Ministers meeting attended by Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and other CIS foreign ministers,counterparts  to  complete  the  ratification  of  the  Kazakhstan-EU  Enhanced  Partnership  and Cooperation Agreement in the near future, which will open a new page in bilateral relations.

    In  the  Greek  Parliament,  the  sides  discussed  the  importance  of  building  up  a  political,  inter-parliamentary and cultural dialogue. During the meeting, Grigorakos stressed that he was closely following positive changes in Kazakhstan and its multinational and multi-confessional society.

    In his opinion, “over the past years Kazakhstan has travelled a significant path to modern thinking, sciences  and  innovations.”  Speaking  about  the  Greek  diaspora  living  in  Kazakhstan,  Grigorakosnoted the importance of strengthening friendship and the “living bridge” that unites our countries. In this  context,  the  Greek  parliamentarian  expressed  deep  interest  in  studying  the  experience  of  the work of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan and ethno-cultural centres.

    Vassilenko noted the EU visa regime simplification for the citizens of Kazakhstan would facilitate a closer dialogue between the countries. He stressed that Kazakhstan unilaterally introduced visa-free regime  for  citizens  of  Greece  and  all  other  EU  countries  from  Jan.  1,  2017.  According  to  the diplomat,  such  a  step  would  allow  to  increase  cooperation  in  the  field  of  tourism  and  bring significant economic benefits.

  • 13 Oct 2017 11:31 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Uzbekistan stands for the formation of a full-fledged free trade zone in the CIS area without any exceptions and limitations. 

    This was stated by the Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State, podrobno.uz reported.

    "I would like to note that since the beginning of the year the trade between Uzbekistan and the CIS countries has increased by more than 20 percent. Uzbekistan is also interested in implementing new concrete projects in the trade, investment, innovation and financial spheres with the CIS member countries. We are ready to jointly develop venture projects and industrial zones," he said.

    Transport and communications, the development of an effective integrated transport system in the Commonwealth space, the fullest utilization of the region's huge transit potential are strategically important areas, according to Mirziyoyev.

    The key aspects of this work, he believes, should be the improvement of administrative procedures and regulations, mutual provision of preferences for transportation and transit of goods.

    The Commonwealth countries have great prospects in the sphere of tourism, according to the Uzbek leader.

    "In our opinion, the vast opportunities and enormous tourism potential, unfortunately, are still not fully utilized. For a joint analysis of the implementation of the Strategy for the development of cooperation of the CIS member states in the field of tourism for the period up to 2020 and the development of a plan of concrete actions we are ready to host one of the regular sessions of the Commonwealth Tourism Council in Samarkand," he said.

    The expansion of applied scientific and technical cooperation and educational exchange will not be left aside, according to Mirziyoyev.

    The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a free association of sovereign states formed in 1991 by Russia and 11 other republics that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. The organization coordinates its members’ policies regarding their economies, defense, immigration policies, environmental protection, and law enforcement.

    The CIS united Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. However, in 2008 Georgia withdrew its membership.

    ---

    Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

    Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz   

  • 13 Oct 2017 11:30 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya
    Tajikistan offers Uzbekistan to enter new markets under a single joint brand.

    This would allow the two countries to achieve success in trade and economic cooperation, according to the chairman of the Tajik Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sharif Said, podrobno.uz reported.

    Today, the volumes of bilateral trade between the countries are unsatisfactory, despite the dynamics of growth of these indicators in recent years, he noted.

    "To achieve this goal, we could use modern methods such as e-commerce, leasing, the creation of joint innovation productions, and in this way to enter the markets of other countries under the joint brand ‘Tajikistan-Uzbekistan’, using the privileges and preferences of the existing free economic zones," the chairman said at the business forum in Tashkent.

    He believes that Uzbek entrepreneurs, using this potential, can significantly increase their share and investment activity in Tajikistan.

    "The opportunities for cooperation are large, but they do not meet all the requirements yet, and we must effectively use all resources and opportunities to strengthen trade and economic relations between the business communities of our countries," Said noted.

    A business forum of the two countries was held within the framework of the Tajik National Exhibition of Products. Representatives of ministries and companies responsible for such spheres as light industry, power engineering, machine building, metallurgy, automotive industry, transport and logistics, food, chemical industry, construction materials, agriculture and tourism participated in the forum.

    Following the event, promising agreements were reached to develop cooperation in the fields of the chemical industry, transport communications, light industry, agriculture, tourism and industrial production.

    Currently 24 enterprises with the participation of Tajik capital, including one with one hundred percent foreign investment, operate in Uzbekistan. At the same time, 9 enterprises were created on the territory of Tajikistan with the participation of Uzbek residents.

    In the first nine months of the current year, the Uzbek-Tajik trade reached a mark of $178.2 million. The Trade House of Uzbekistan was opened in Dushanbe in June.

    In 2016, the trade turnover between the two countries hit $69 million, which is almost 6 times more than in 2015. 

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    Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

    Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz  

  • 12 Oct 2017 11:28 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    A network of centers for the integrated service of farms, dehkan farms as well as the owners of household land will be established throughout Uzbekistan in the near future.

    This decision was recently approved by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The new centers will be created at the district councils of farms, dekhkan farms and landowners, podrobno.uz reported.

    Their main tasks include providing consulting services to producers of agricultural products, including consulting in the legal, economic, technological spheres and assistance in drawing up business plans.

    In addition, they will engage in intermediary services in the sale of agricultural products in the domestic and foreign markets, the delivery on a contractual basis of necessary material resources, seeds and seedlings, containers, equipment and other means to farmers.

    Another important area of their work is providing consulting services to attract bank loans, funds and grants from international and foreign financial organizations. The agrarian’s qualification advancement will not be left aside. The centers will conduct training and practical courses for retraining and advanced training in the sphere of agriculture.

    The creation of new cooperative chains among farmers in the production, harvesting, storage, processing, and export of agricultural products is also an important direction of the centers’ operation.

    The country's economy depends heavily on agricultural production. Last year the volume of gross agricultural production in Uzbekistan reached 47.4 trillion soums. As of January 1, 2017, the number of operating farms exceeded 132,000 and dekhkan farms - 4.7 million.

    In total, 8.2 million tons of grain, 2.9 million tons of potatoes, 11.2 million tons of vegetables, over 3 million tons of fruits and berries, 1.7 million tons of grapes, 2 million tons of melons and 2.9 million tons of raw cotton were produced in the country last year.

    Because of the risks associated with a one-crop economy as well as from considerations of food security for the population, Uzbekistan has been trying to diversify its production of other agricultural products, while reducing cotton production.

    The Central Asian nation intends to decrease production and public procurement of raw cotton up to 3 million tons by 2020.

    Thus, Uzbekistan aims to increase production of grain crops up to 8.5 million tons with the growth rate of 16.4 percent by 2020 due to optimization of lands and introduction of modern agriculture technologies. It is also planned to increase production of potatoes by 35 percent, other vegetables by 30 percent, fruits and grapes 21.5 percent, meat by 26.2 percent, milk by 47.3 percent, eggs by 74.5 percent and fish by 2.5 times.

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    Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

    Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz  

  • 12 Oct 2017 11:27 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has kept the forecast for GDP growth in Uzbekistan in 2017 and 2018 at the level of 6 percent annually.

    This was stated in the fund’s October report ‘World Economic Outlook’.

    Uzbekistan's inflation will grow from 8 percent in 2016 up to 13 percent in 2017. The growth of inflation in 2018 will be at the level of 12.7 percent, according to the report.

    Fund experts predict that the current account balance of Uzbekistan’s balance of payments in 2017 will amount to 0.9 percent of GDP against 1.4 percent in 2016. This figure will amount to 0.3 percent in 2018, the IMF report said.

    The IMF emphasizes that Uzbekistan can experience inflationary pressures in connection with the currency reform.

    The inflation forecast increased under the influence of various factors including the devaluation of the soum. The Central Bank of Uzbekistan devalued the national currency – soum – by almost two times on September 5, setting the official exchange rate of US dollar at 8,100 soums/USD compared to 4,210.35 soums/USD on September 4.

    Simultaneously, restrictions were lifted for legal entities and individuals to convert the national currency.

    Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered to remove restrictions from September 5 on currency exchange for the population. Previously, he announced upcoming liberalization of the banking sector and transition to a system of free currency conversion.

    Currently, Uzbek people can buy foreign currency solely on plastic payment cards, which can be used abroad without any restrictions.

    Earlier, individual entrepreneurs and farmers in Uzbekistan were allowed to withdraw foreign currency from their bank accounts.

    In addition, legal entities can purchase foreign currency in banks without restrictions for payment on current international transactions - for the import of goods, works and services, repatriation of profits, repayment of loans, travel expenses and other non-trade transfers.

    At the time, physical persons can only sell currency to banks through exchange offices.

    ---

    Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

    Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz 

  • 11 Oct 2017 11:38 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya
    ASTANA  –  Kazakhstan  President  Nursultan  Nazarbayev  was  briefed  on  the  latest  in  Kazakh- Russian cooperation on the Baiterek joint project at the Baikonur complex during a recent trip to the Kyzylorda region, according to the Akorda press service.

    “As part of our agreements with Russia, the strategic directions for the development of the complex are determined. The work is coordinated by a specially established intergovernmental commission and the governments of the parties, concrete steps are being taken,” President Nazarbayev said.

    He also stressed the need to improve environmental safety in the region. The President was also briefed on prospects to develop the city of Baikonur and improve his quality of life. “The city has a great prospect. The necessary infrastructure is being developed, gasification of the city will be ensured, construction of housing complexes and social facilities will be carried out, and joint  enterprises  should  be  created  to  provide  employment  for  the  local  population,”  President Nazarbayev added.

    The Baiterek project, a joint project between the counties, started in 2004 with the aim of creating more eco-friendly carrier rocket launches at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Funding for the Baiterek project will start in 2019-2020, when draft design and working design documentation will also be developed. Development and manufacture of equipment, construction and installation will launch in 2021-2023. Autonomous, integrated flight tests are slated for 2024-2025, with the first launch within

    the Baiterek project slated for 2025.

  • 11 Oct 2017 11:35 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Kazakhstan's energy minister Kanat Bozumbayev announced Wednesday that the country will supply uranium to five nuclear power plants in China beginning in 2019.

    "We are working with our Chinese partners on uranium conversion," Bozumbayev told media representatives at the 18th Asian Nuclear Cooperation Forum held in Kazakhstan's capital city Astana.

    China is on schedule to complete the construction of a new power plant by 2019, when Kazakhstan will begin supplying uranium, Bozumbayev added.

    Bozumbayev said Kazakhstan aims to turn its nuclear power into an important player in global fuel trade.

    Kazakhstan is the world's biggest uranium producer, controlling 40 percent of production worldwide, with 12 percent of the world's uranium under its soil, the World Nuclear Association reports.

    The Central Asian country has no enrichment centers or nuclear power plants of its own, mostly exporting uranium in the form of triuranium octoxide or pellets, both of which require further processing before being used by power plants.

    The Kazakh state nuclear company Kazatomprom and China's CGNPC first announced a joint venture in May this year, aiming to produce ready-to-use fuel assemblies.

    As of May 2017, China has 37 operating nuclear reactors, with 20 more under construction, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

  • 06 Oct 2017 11:25 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the two Central Asian nations, continued their efforts in bringing the relations to the highest level as Tashkent hosted a meeting of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev on October 5.

    In a short time, due to the will of the two presidents, a historic level of mutual understanding between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan was reached, Mirziyoyev said, the press service of the Kyrgyz President reported.

    He warmly welcomed the high guest, noting that this state visit is a symbolic continuation of the agreements concluded during the historic state visit to Bishkek.

    "I think the peoples of the two fraternal countries will appreciate it. After our meetings in Beijing, Astana, historical negotiations in Samarkand, we achieved great results in all directions. If we talk about our political relations, then there is no unresolved issue left. We support each other within the UN, the CIS and the Islamic Cooperation Organization. In trade and economic relations, as we agreed, we will not interfere with our entrepreneurs," Mirziyoyev said, adding that the business forums in Bishkek, Tashkent confirm the establishment of contacts between entrepreneurs.

    He went on to say that the greatest gratitude of citizens, especially residents of border areas, is connected with the opening of checkpoints, which people have waited for many years. These events are positively regarded by residents, according to the Uzbek leader.

    The head of Uzbekistan also noted the cultural and humanitarian cooperation of the two countries. Currently, Bishkek holds the days of culture of Uzbekistan, in connection with which the famous creative collectives, writers and other representatives of the creative intelligentsia came to the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

    Mirziyoyev also said that this state visit would open up new cooperation directions in a number of spheres, in particular, in the military-technical area.

    Atambaev, in his turn, also emphasized with what joy the residents of the country took the news about the opening of checkpoints, which have been closed for years.

    Following the meeting the sides signed more than 10 bilateral documents on various areas of cooperation.

    Both presidents signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, Strengthening Friendship, Good-Neighborliness and Confidence between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, UzA reported.

    During the press conference which was held after the meeting, the sides noted that the talks were held in a spirit of mutual understanding and sincerity and that the parties are united on all strategic issues.

    It was stressed that the dynamically developing trade, economic and cultural-humanitarian ties, the activities of the open border checkpoints and the expansion of direct contacts between the regions are of great importance in the further strengthening of bilateral relations.

    Mirziyoyev’s visit to Kyrgyzstan on September 5 of the current year was the first by an Uzbek leader in 17 years.

    Along with the signed border agreement during the visit, the sides voiced desire to reconsider the water and energy issues which caused controversy in the past.

    A number of recent diplomatic meetings between Kyrgyz and Uzbek officials have indicated a significant improvement in bilateral ties between the two countries.

    The parties also stressed that one of the key factors of Central Asia’s well-being is the integrated use of water and energy resources, taking into account the interests of all the states of the region. The importance of open dialogue and the search for mutually acceptable solutions in this sphere were underlined in this regard.

    The two countries’ trade turnover rose by twofold in the first half of the current year and it is expected that the volume of bilateral trade will total $280 million in late 2017.

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    Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

    Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz