Monochrome by Centil Law: Back to Business

With the awakening of the Chinese dragon, so did the realisation that economic cooperation is an effective way to maintain stability, and it's back to business for the Stans.

Fuelling Kazakhstan's crypto ambitions, China's The9 Limited and KazDigital are planning to set up a joint venture. The JV will be set up to build a 100MW cryptocurrency mining site equipped with The9's mining machines. The project will be completed in four stages, with the gradual installation of 25MW by the end of 2022. Both parties committed to invest their own assets in equal proportions.

US-based gas producer Epsilon is back to business with plans to bring another US investor group to jointly work on energy projects in Uzbekistan, and create a private vertically integrated venture. The suggested tie-in will unite 5 gas and condensate blocks operated by Epsilon, and a network of 263 compressed natural gas and 112 multi-fuel retail posts across the country to be gradually acquired by the proposed consortium from state-run operators over the next 10 years.

Kazakhstan-based LF TECH is back to P2P lending. After launching its short-term consumer lending business, issued under 'Dengi Click' brand at the end of 2018, the company stopped operations allegedly to restructure and prepare for scaling. It now intends to provide automobile loans issued by its brand Avto Zalog. Originally from Kazakhstan, the company also operates in Russia and the Philippines.

Uzbekistan will trust French Veolia with managing the heating system of Tashkent city, previously run by the state-owned company Toshissikkuvvati, for the next 30 years. In exchange, Veolia will invest €1.3bn in the project, of which €315m will be the company’s own funds. The project is expected to generate an additional €1.08bn in revenues. The state also plans to update the systems of technical audit and billing.

Uzbekistan to modernize its thermal power stations with the help of EBRD's €1.6m loan granted for 7 years with a 30-month grace period at 1+6M Euribor rate and 5% commission. The project is part of the state’s Vital Infrastructure Support Program and is designed for 2 years until 2022. It is expected that the loan will be repaid with the revenues from the modernized TPPs.

Kazakhstan's state-owned Food Contract Corporation secured a loan of nearly $45m from the Eurasian Development Bank for the purchase of agrarian products. The first tranche in the amount of around $25m has already been disbursed. It is expected that the funds will allow the FCC to support the farmers in the next 3 years and to purchase agricultural products in the autumn season with a view of regulating the grain market.

After 16 years of exile in Russia, Kyrgyzstan’s first president Askar Akayev is back in Bishkek, cooperating with the state-led investigation of the Kumtor gold mine, and the circumstances of it passing to Canada-based Centerra Gold way-way back in the 90s. Earlier this year the Kyrgyz parliament passed a bill allowing the state to take temporary control over the mine. While the bill expires later this month, it seems like the state has no plans of relinquishing the asset, or ending the investigation.

Turkmenistan hosted the Third Consultative Meeting of Central Asian Heads of State to discuss opportunities for economic cooperation and security along the Afghan borders. Heads of regional offices of the UN will also participate in the dialogue. In addition, the Central Asian Economic Forum and the first regional Women Leaders Dialogue will also be held in the context of the consultative summit.

Hardliner Raisi was officially sworn in as Iran’s new President, replacing Rouhani’s moderate administration that lasted for the past 8 years. At the inauguration ceremony, Raisi reaffirmed his commitment to have the US sanctions lifted and resume the 2015 nuclear deal talks. At the same time, Raisi made clear that his vision is in line with Khamenei’s and only last week the Supreme Leader expressed his distrust of the West.

Russia, China, US and Pakistan prepare to meet in Qatar in the framework of a ‘Troika Plus’ dialogue, to discuss security issues, primarily focusing on achieving a cease-fire in Afghanistan, resume inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue and form an interim coalition government with tasks to carry out constitutional reforms and prepare for a general election. At the occasion, Russia’s Envoy to Afghanistan Kabulov will also meet his newly appointed Chinese counterpart, Yue Xiao Yong, for the first time.

Stay safe, stay out of the rain and keep shining.

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