The week passed by quite measuredly, including due to 5 days off to celebrate Nowruz. However, those in power continued to forge useful connections.
The most high-profile event of the week on a truly regional scale was the summit of the Organization of Turkic States in Ankara, where the parties agreed to establish a Turkic Investment Fund with an authorized capital of $500m. The fund will be divided into 10,000 shares worth $50,000 each. Each of the five countries - Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will receive 2,000 initial shares. The headquarters of the fund with the status of an international financial organization will be located in Istanbul.
After participating in the summit, President of Kazakhstan Tokayev managed to hold two more strategic meetings, one with the Secretary of State of the UK, where the parties discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation, and the other was a meeting with the Turkish President Erdogan in Ankara. The heads of the two states discussed bilateral relations, but the details of the other, likely more important discussion topics remain unknown...
The meeting with the Turkish leader was also held by Kyrgyz President Japarov, who also met Erdogan in Ankara. The leaders discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, paying special attention to strengthening ties in the political, trade, economic and other spheres. Erdogan also thanked Kyrgyzstan for its assistance in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake that occurred in Turkey in February 2023, in particular for the rescue team sent.
Bit more gossipy but interesting nevertheless were the messages from Kazakh entrepreneurs who say Russians are literally overwhelming them with their requests to help circumvent Western sanctions on the import of goods. Some entrepreneurs report offers of $1m to help transport a truckload of rare earth metals. Russia's wish list also includes industrial equipment, railway bearings, advanced electronics, radio equipment, turbines, aircraft parts, raw materials and materials for bank cards.
In turn, for Tashkent, energy stands at the top of its agenda. President Mirziyoyev announced plans for construction of four PV powerplants with a total capacity of 2,400 MW in the Tashkent region to meet increasing energy demand, and shared plans to attract $2b to fund the project. In his speech, Mirziyoyev highlighted the need to solve problems in the energy sector for the development of Tashkent. Over the past 6 years, electricity consumption in the capital increased by 30% and approached 8 bn kWh.
In the same connection, the president made another statement that with the private sector will be involved to build and put into operation 58 micro hydroelectric power stations throughout the Republic. The total capacity will be 38 MW. The country’s hydropower capacities will be increased by 260 MW, totaling 2.1 GW due to the construction of 15 new and modernization of 12 hydroelectric power plants. The government says the system can take additional GW increase overall. The private sector will be involved in the construction of 26 micro HPPs with a capacity of 9 MW.
Tajikistan also leans on energy a bit more and decided develop solar and wind energy due to the loss of glaciers. At the moment, more than 93% of electricity in the country is generated by hydroelectric power plants. In this regard, the Minister of Energy announced that the installed capacity of electricity generation from solar and wind energy by 2030 should be at least 700 MW.
Uzbekistan’s another banger was the move to establish “New Tashkent”. The city will become the new administrative centre of the county and will occupy an area of 20,000 hectares, accommodating up to 1 million people. At the first stage, residential buildings, schools, kindergartens, a polyclinic and a multidisciplinary hospital will be built. It will also house university campuses, a national library, a theater, creative schools, retail and service facilities. Specialists from the UK, Turkey, China and Singapore will be involved in the construction.
Meanwhile, Tashkent, still unique in its kind, continues international cooperation, now creating a project with Japan to develop value chains in horticulture costing over $320m. The initiators are coughing up $64.7m directly, and $58.3m will come in the form of Uzbek VAT compensation and customs benefits. The bulk of the costs - $200m will be covered by a JICA loan. Of these, $194m will be a credit line and nearly $6m will come as consulting services.
Ashgabat also took up the development of strategic sectors and engaged GIZ to provide support in the digitization of customs procedures. In addition to GIZ, the country also actively cooperates with the International Road Transport Union, which already implemented several projects to increase the country's transit and transport potential, as well as optimize cross-border procedures in order to improve Turkmenistan's connection with neighboring countries.
Finally, Centil's team in Tashkent produced a new handy guide on the newly adopted Labour Code in Uzbekistan. Read all about it.