This last week a numerous delegation of top-level officials and business folk from Uzbekistan paid a first-ever such visit to the US, initially to Washington DC for policy consultations then to New York for days-long conferences.
The author of this article visited the investment forum titled “Uzbekistan’s Capital Market Opportunities” and highlighted a detailed, convincingly documented presentations (in English) about capital investment opportunities followed one another.
As Forbes reporter Malik Kaylan notes, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the current Presindent of Uzbekistan, has turned out to be something of a blessing, a reformer and modernizer and a man on a distinct mission to improve his country’s lot economically. He has changed the country’s direction and future, releasing political prisoners, allowing in foreign media, opening up the country to foreign trade and investment. Appointing new young talent to top positions often with training abroad, he is cracking down the rampant corruption and nepotism.
“I was rather surprised, pleasantly so, by the candor of Atabek Nazirov, the director of CMDA. We had a good long face-to-face interview during which he spoke quite directly about the past regime’s awfulness, his hopes and worries for the future. I asked him why now? What made this the right time for Uzbekistan to open up despite all the challenges? He told me that it was a matter of responding to the people’s needs because of pressure from the bottom up”, writes the author.
As Kaylan emphasizes, the new President realized change had to come so it was a matter of steering, expanding, liberating dynamism, managing the risks. Mirziyoyev kicked off his rule with early visits to neighbor countries to settle border disputes and make commercial agreements. Uzbekistan is a landlocked country so trade begins with neighbors, namely Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan – a market of 300 million people in total. He plans to visit 36 countries this year.
Americans’ mood has been uniformly enthusiastic and they were going to do some serious business. Additionally, he spoke with the American-educated Atabek Nazirov, Director of Capital Markets Development Agency (CMDA), a ministry level post and concluded: Uzbekistan is thawing out and opening up.