As the week draws to a close, not everyone is feeling romantic, and some relationships are experiencing considerable pressure.
Kazakhstan got South Korea’s Engineering & Construction to be it’s Valentine and to agree to contribute to the $540m construction costs of the Almaty Ring Road Project, the largest public-private cooperation infrastructure project in Central Asia amounting to a total of $750m. In turn, to make the first investment experience smooth, the government introduced certain exemptions to facilitate the consortium’s fundraising.
Russian Novaport realised Uzbekistan wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship in respect of refurbishment of two airports, and now the country prepares tenders to attract bids for the management of regional airports, while entertaining engagements with the World Bank and Sumitomo Corporation. Meanwhile, Airports of Regions, owned by Russian billionaire Vekselberg, was not shy to express interest.
Looking to fuel company growth and to support the developing IT ecosystem, Uzbekistan’s legislative body Oliy Majlis approved the draft law, proposed by the Capital Markets Development Agency, enabling LLCs to issue corporate bonds on the same conditions as JSCs. The law will envisage revision of criteria for credit ratings and quantitative restrictions proportionate to corporate capital will be removed.
With the coronavirus dragging the oil prices down, hand in hand, Kazakhstan and Russia reduce their fuel production by an additional 20,000 b/d, in concordance with OPEC+ guidelines. Kazakhstan also advocates for the extension of the Gazprom-operated pipeline Power of Siberia 2 with an added western gas route from China to Siberia transiting through its national soil.
Russia returns its dues as Kazakhstan oil companies receive final payment from Transneft in compensation for shipping 699 thousand tons of fuel contaminated with high concentrations of organochlorine to Kazakh tankers in Russia’s Baltic port of Ust-Luga. The accident that occurred in April-May 2019 ended up costing nearly $1bn.
At the 20th Session of the Consultative Council on Improvement of the Investment Climate in Tajikistan, President Rahmon was praised for aligning economic policies of the National Development Strategy up to 2030 to the needs to drive investments. In recognition of these efforts, the World Bank also moved the country’s ranking up by 20 points in its Doing Business Report 2020.
Shortly after receiving permission to construct a new city for $1.5bn in his province, Serdar Berdymukhamedov is announced as the head of Turkmenistan’s newly established Ministry for Construction and Industry, fuelling the rumours of him standing next in line of the succession for presidency. Time will show as the next elections are not for another four years.
Cupid struck and Guychgeldi Baygeldiyev was appointed as the new head of the Turkmen state oil company Turkmennebit, instead of the former interim chairman Orazov. Pressure seems to mount, as President Berdymukhamedov shakes things up to see real growth in the oil sector. Details of the appointment are sparse, but the efforts are aimed at developing hydrocarbon reserves to boost the struggling economy.
An ethnic clash between Kazakhs and Dungans, a local Muslim minority of Chinese origin, in the south of the country adds to an already rocky relationship between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, as thousands flee across the border. Details of the reason for the conflict were not confirmed, but it raises questions on the complicity with Kazakhstan’s second largest trading partner, China’s anti-Muslim sentiment.
On the contrary, the Taliban’s hearts seemed to soften as the group’s officials reportedly offered a seven-day 'reduction of violence' ahead of further negotiations with the US. Given that all the past efforts to cease fire and mediate intra-Afghan peace talks have been plagued with mistrust, it is unclear whether this decision is a sign of progress in conflict resolution, but hope always dies last.
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