Monochrome by Centil: Hot pursuit

As anticipated, after the US/EU activity in the region last week, China and Russia are stepping in to seal a few deals.

This activity was most evident in Uzbekistan. Moscow signed an agreement with Tashkent to extend the transit of natural gas through the territory of Uzbekistan until 2024. The agreement was reached between Uzbekneftegaz and Russia's Gazprom Export. The agreement also ensures stable supplies of natural gas to Uzbekistan. The parties expressed readiness to further strengthen cooperation in the energy sector.

In that same pursuit, the Uzbek-Chinese enterprise Uz-King Long Motors plans to produce buses in Tashkent. The initial investment will amount to $15m. The capital municipality instructed to purchase a total of 1000 buses, including 200 articulated ones. Another 700 vehicles, including 300 electric buses, are to be supplied by another Chinese company, Yutong. The efforts are by the mayor’s office which is aiming to reduce the cost of transporting passengers and improve the quality of services.

Kazakhstan, on the other hand, is keeping a steady westward gaze, welcoming British Trade Commissioner Emma Waders to Astana to strengthen bilateral relations with state officials. She also met with the heads of British companies Shell, BP and Rio Tinto. The meetings were held in a constructive atmosphere, and both sides emphasized their intentions to continue intensive cooperation and development of economic relations between the UK and Kazakhstan.

The American Chevron also intends to increase oil production in Kazakhstan. According to the company, they plan to invest in new projects and developments to increase total oil production. In addition, Chevron seeks to strengthen its partnerships with the Kazakh government and local companies to ensure stability and long-term development of its business operations in the country.

Neighbourly pursuits worked out in intra-regional cooperation as well. An informal meeting between Mirziyoyev and Tokayev was held during the week. The parties paid special attention to the promotion of enterprise cooperation projects. One of them was the recently created UzKazTrade, which should increase the volume of goods deliveries to the markets of the two countries and help develop proposals to remove restrictions and barriers in mutual trade.

The day before meeting Tokayev, the Uzbek side also met with Kyrgyz PM Akylbek Japarov. The parties discussed expanding cooperation in transport, energy, and tourism. Issues of security on the border between the two countries were also raised. According to sources, an MoU was reached at the meeting teasing investments in various projects, but exact figures were not disclosed.

Tashkent was also active in Ashgabat, where a regular meeting of the Joint Turkmen-Uzbek Intergovernmental Commission was held. The agreements totaling more than $300m were signed at the meeting. The sides also agreed to continue cooperation in these areas and strengthen friendly relations between the two states.

Tajikistan, in turn, enjoyed the attention of donors. Namely, ADB announced allocation of $50m to improve business environment in the country. The funds will be used to support small and medium-sized businesses, as well as to improve investment policy in the regions. Financing program will allow creating new jobs and improving living standards.

The World Bank also began financing three new projects in the country. The total amount of investment is $165m and is aimed at developing energy, healthcare and improving living conditions in rural areas. The program plans to build new power plants, modernize medical facilities, and improve access to drinking water.

Pursuing warmer relations with Saudi Arabia, Tashkent signed another deal with ACWA Power to build two solar power plants with total capacity of 1,400 MW and energy storage systems with 1,200 MW in three regions of the country. The investments will amount to $2.5b and one of the plants will be located in Tashkent. The company also signed an investment agreement for $10b to further develop environmentally friendly projects.

For those, keen on pursuing the energy and renewables sectors in Uzbekistan, the firm's Energy practice put together a helpful guide on the energy industry, and invite you to check it out.

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