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  • 06 Nov 2017 12:59 PM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett will visit Uzbekistan to sign the Bank’s first new projects since 2010, in banking, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals.

    In Tashkent, Bennett will meet Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and other senior officials and speak at the International Conference on Security and Sustainable Development in Central Asia, the Bank reported.

    He will also open a new office of the Bank in the capital, Tashkent on November 8, which demonstrates the EBRD’s new stage of engagement with Uzbekistan.

    The EBRD office, headed by Associate Director Alkis Vryenios Drakinos, will support the expansion of the Bank’s operations in the country.

    The EBRD’s near-term objectives in Uzbekistan are to support domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and promote trade finance and cross-border cooperation, as well as to facilitate foreign direct investment and support the government’s reform efforts, including those aimed at improving the investment climate.

    The EBRD Board of Directors is expected to agree a new country strategy for Uzbekistan in 2018, which will set out the Bank’s longer-term strategic priorities.

    Between 1992 and 2010, the EBRD invested €894 million in Uzbekistan in 54 projects.

    Now entering a new stage of engagement in the country, the Bank has already identified a number of possible new projects, some of which are due to be signed by the end of 2017, with more to follow in 2018.

  • 02 Nov 2017 4:44 PM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    King Abdullah II of Jordan was awarded the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security during his Nov. 1 official visit to Kazakhstan. The Jordanian monarch was decorated for his contribution to “regional stability, global security and steadfast stance against war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” 

    “This award is in recognition of your contributions and manifestation of hope that as conflicts rage you would continue with a peacemaking role, which brings people closer,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

    He specifically highlighted Jordan’s acceptance of up to 1.3 million refugees since the Syrian crisis began more than six years ago, as well as Amman’s involvement in the Astana Process peace talks on Syria as an observer. Jordan’s contribution to peace process between Israel and Palestine was also noted. 

    King Abdullah thanked the Kazakh President for the invitation, the warm welcome rendered by the Kazakh hosts and expressed gratitude for the award. 

    He emphasised the trusting nature of the relations between the two countries and highlighted the important role of Nursultan Nazarbayev in the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. 

    “We value what you do to make this world a better and safer place. Your leadership is important for all of us,” said the king. 

    He stressed that “this award is for the entire people of Jordan.” His office is reported to have added that the prize money would go to support excelling Jordanian students in public schools. 

    The leaders of the two countries also tackled international issues, including the war in Syria and the Astana Process, the situation in Iraq, the diplomatic crisis around Qatar, as well as the fight against terrorism and joint efforts to promote religious tolerance and nuclear non-proliferation. The Jordanian leader visited Kazakhstan the day after the seventh high-level international meeting on Syria concluded in Astana. 

    Jordan participated in the talks as an observer. Nazarbayev stated that the Astana Process helped diminish the level of violence in Syria significantly, as the local population have a chance to return to peaceful life. 

    The Kazakh President and the Jordanian King agreed to continue developing bilateral ties and cooperating on efforts for international peace. At a briefing that followed the bilateral meeting, Nazarbayev noted February 2018 will mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakh-Jordanian relations. He also thanked the Jordanian side for their active participation in the EXPO 2017 international specialised exhibition in Astana and the first Summit on Science and Technologies of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. King Abdullah confirmed Jordan’s willingness to continue the close cooperation with Kazakhstan and thanked Kazakhstan and its leader for its contribution to the international community. 

    “My dear brother, you have brought global vision to today’s most pressing international concerns. Today, Kazakhstan is a champion of global co-existence and cooperation,” he said. 

    The meeting resulted in the signing of bilateral agreements, including those on extradition of persons, on the transfer of convicted persons, on legal assistance in criminal matters, on cooperation in combating terrorism, organised crime, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and other types of crimes. 

    The Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security was established in 2016. Its objective is to urge international actors to pursue more vigorous efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

  • 02 Nov 2017 10:26 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    The EU delegation and Uzbek officials discussed the prospects for cooperation in cotton sphere, as well as the agriculture industry during the 76th plenary meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) held in Tashkent.

    The EU Delegation was headed by Leonard Mizzi, Head of Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit.

    The sides discussed the prospects for cooperation within ICAC and possible cooperation opportunities in agriculture development within EU-Uzbekistan partnership, according to the message of the EU press service.

    The head of the EU delegation also met with the minister of agriculture and water resources of Uzbekistan and development partners active in the country, including FAO and the World Bank Group (WB, IFC).

    Following the accession to ICAC in May this year, the European Union Delegation attended the ICAC plenary for the first time, representing all the EU Member States.

    The membership of the EU in the ICAC is of strategic significance to the world cotton industry and the 150 million people get involved in cotton production, marketing and processing each season.

    Uzbekistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of cotton fiber production and the fifth - in its exports. The country produces about 3.500 tons of raw cotton and 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber per year and remains one of the main partners of Uzbekistan in terms of production and trade of cotton.

    The EU is the 11th largest producer and 6th largest exporter of cotton in the world. The European Union itself, and many individual countries and companies within the EU, are significant providers of cotton-specific development assistance in recipient countries.

    The EU has allocated €168 million to its bilateral cooperation with Uzbekistan in 2014-2020, which focuses on rural development.

    Uzbekistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management (through the programme BOMCA) and drug control (through CADAP/IcSP), education (through Erasmus+), democracy and human rights (through EIDHR), energy (through IFCA & INOGATE), SME development (through CA-Invest), peace and stability (through IcSP) and water/environment and nuclear safety (through IFCA and INSC).

    The EU has been active in Uzbekistan since 1996 and provides approximately €24 million annually in development assistance.

  • 26 Oct 2017 10:20 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Ankara hosted a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Turkish media reports.

    The meeting at the level of the presidents of countries took place after a 20-year break.

    "The meeting at the presidents level took place after a 20-year break, so it is of great importance to us. We held one-on-one meetings with Mirziyoyev, and then negotiations between delegations. These meetings were very productive", Erdogan said.

    As the President of Turkey noted, 22 agreements were signed between the countries, 4 more contracts are planned to be signed today in Istanbul.

    According to the President of Turkey, from March 16 next year, Turkish Airlines will start regular flights between Istanbul and Samarkand.

    In his turn, the President of Uzbekistan said that Turkey is a reliable and important partner for the country on the international arena. "We are ready to mobilize all our forces for the development of broad and long-term cooperation between the countries", Mirziyoyev said.

    As for visas for citizens of Turkey, Mirziyoyev informed that a multiple-entry visa for one year to Turkish businessmen will be issued within three days, tourists from Turkey will be granted a visa for one month.

  • 25 Oct 2017 10:24 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are set to increase economic and trade relations.

    Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan trade turnover amounted to $554 million while the rate of taxes payments by Uzbek entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan increased by 2 billion tenge in January-September 2017 compared to the same period of the last year.

    This was stated by the head of the State Revenues Department for regulation of tariffs in the South Kazakhstan region Askar Isakhov, Kazinform reported.

    Issues of trade facilitation and coordination of border management within the Shymkent-Tashkent corridor were discussed at a meeting with representatives of customs authorities and the private sector.

    "An increase in trade between the two countries is impossible without a reduction in administrative barriers. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have already joined a number of international conventions, including the Convention on Harmonization of Conditions for Conducting Cargo Control at Borders," Isakhov said.

    The document, by the way, is aimed at removing barriers in foreign trade, simplifying the movement of goods by reducing the requirements for the implementation of formalities, the number and duration of control measures.

    In addition, customs officials of the two countries came to a common opinion on accelerating the crossing of the border by participants of foreign economic activity.

    Thus, currently, five customs checkpoints, each with its own functions, operate on the border with Uzbekistan. Kaplanbek and Konysbaev checkpoints, for example, are engaged in the admission of trucks. They are expected to optimize customs clearance.

    The development of comprehensive proposals for trade facilitation will be addressed by the “Regional Program of the German Society for International Cooperation GIZ.”

    Earlier, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Tashkent Yerik Utembayev proposed to strengthen economic and business ties through creating joint economic zones. Previously, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan signed contracts totaling $1.2 billion following two business forums held in Astana in March and in Tashkent on September 16.

    The trade turnover between the two states increased by 35 percent in January-August of the current year. Over 200 companies with Kazakh capital currently operate in Uzbekistan. The volume of trade turnover between the countries amounted to $2 billion in 2016.

  • 25 Oct 2017 10:22 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    Uzbekistan, the world’s sixth-largest cotton producer, aims to further increase incomes to the national economy by exporting this strategic crop.

    Uzbekistan has signed contracts for the export of finished textile products and semi-finished products for more than $1 billion following the 13th International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair.

    Large contracts were signed with companies from Russia, Turkey, South Korea, Singapore, Moldova and other countries.

    Representatives of foreign purchasing companies noted the quality and price parameters of Uzbek textile.

    At the same time, the process of contracting continues, and more accurate figures for exports will appear later. The same applies to data on cotton fiber contracting.

    Last year, Uzbekistan signed contracts for the sale of textile products for 550,000 tons of cotton fiber worth more than $1.32 billion.

    In general, the 76th plenary meeting of the International Consultative Committee for Cotton and the XIII International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair will last until Friday, when the final figures will be announced.

    This year around 1500 specialists from more than 50 countries take part in the events.

    Uzbekistan will achieve full processing of cotton fiber in 2021. By 2020, the capacity of local enterprises will ensure the full processing of cotton produced in Uzbekistan, which can lead to a significant decrease in the export supplies of this crop. Only in 2017, the country intends to bring internal processing of cotton fiber to 70 percent.

    At the same time, by 2021 the production of textile and clothing and knitted products will increase by 2.2 times compared to 2016, including ready-made fabrics - 2.7 times, knitted fabrics - 3 times, knitted goods – 3.4 times, hosiery – 3.7 times. It is planned to increase the export of products by 2 times.

    One of the policy priorities of Uzbekistan, the world’s fifth-largest cotton exporter, is further development of its textile industry. Annually, the country grows about 3.5 million tons of raw cotton, produces 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber.

    Uzbekistan takes consistent steps to increase the volume of cotton fiber processing. In particular, it is planned to create 112 modern, high-tech industrial factories, expand, modernize and technologically upgrade 20 operating capacities. All this will increase the export potential of the industry up to $2.5 billion a year and create more than 25,000 jobs.

    In the period 2010-2014, the textile industry of Uzbekistan received and spent foreign investments worth $785 million while 147 new textile enterprises with participation of investors from Germany, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Turkey and other countries were commissioned. Export potential of these enterprises amounted to $670 millions.

  • 25 Oct 2017 10:16 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya
    SINGAPORE (25 October 2017) — Growing trade and investment linkages in Asia and the Pacific help improve the region’s economic resilience to uncertainties in the global economic and trade policy environment, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

    In a study released today, the Asian Economic Integration Report 2017 (AEIR), ADB examines recent regional integration trends and introduces a new regional integration index. The report also includes a special chapter on how Asia can strengthen financial resilience in an era of financial interconnectedness.

    Strong intraregional trade and investment are acting as a buffer for the region against uncertainties in global trade and economic growth, according to the report. In 2016, Asia’s intraregional trade share―measured by value―rose to 57.3% in 2016, a record high, up from an average of 55.9% from 2010 to 2015.

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) within Asia rose in absolute value to reach $272 billion in 2016, despite a 6% decline in global FDI flows into the region. This intraregional FDI increased as a share of total FDI to the region from 48% in 2015 to 55% in 2016. Given the role intra-Asian FDI plays in enhancing global and regional value chain development, this is expected to help strengthen the region’s trade growth globally.

    Asian economies have continued expanding their global presence, with FDI originating from Asia rising 11% in 2016 to $482 billion, primarily through investment in renewable energy, natural resources, semiconductors, and information technology.

    “Asia and the Pacific is leading a recovery in world trade that is helping the region to maintain strong growth momentum amid global economic and trade policy uncertainty,” said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB’s Chief Economist. “Asia’s continued integration and cooperation will underpin regional economic growth and financial resilience.”

    The 2017 AEIR introduces a new composite index, the Asia-Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index. The index measures regional integration across six components, including trade and investment, money and finance, regional value chains, infrastructure and connectivity, movement of people, and institutional and social integration. The index is aimed at helping policymakers better understand and measure the levers for greater regional integration and cooperation.

    The report also features a special chapter on how Asia can strengthen financial resilience in an era of financial interconnectedness. It highlights that 20 years after the Asian financial crisis, Asia stands strong, with healthier financial systems, stronger regulations, and better regional financial cooperation mechanisms.

    Significant challenges remain, however, with unresolved financial market and system weaknesses. Remaining regulatory policy gaps could also increase the region’s risk exposure and financial vulnerability through excessive leverage and risk-taking.

    The report offers several recommendations for countries in the region to strengthen their resilience to future crises, including maintaining sound macroeconomic fundamentals; further strengthening national regulatory and supervisory frameworks and institutional capacities; further developing local currency bond markets; strengthening regional regulatory cooperation, including resolution mechanisms for interconnected regional banks; and reviewing and strengthening existing financial safety nets against potential contagion and spillover effects.

    ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing. 

  • 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.

    [Native Advertisement]

    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.