Some years ago, the region couldn't boast an abundance of victories on the international arena, but now it seems the time has come for the Stans to demonstrate their winner instincts.
Perhaps the most notable collective victory was the summit of the Central Asian countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council. For the first time in history the leaders of 11 countries from both regions gathered in Jeddah to discuss the development of political dialogue, expansion of trade, economic, and investment cooperation. An interesting initiative was the visa-free regime among all participating countries as well as establishment of a joint council of investors to effectively utilize the potential of Arab investment funds and GCC banks.
At the same time, Astana managed to promote its interests with other big players - China and the US. With Beijing Astana plans to increase annual grain exports to 1 million tons. This was discussed during a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the VP of China's food giant COFCO, which is the largest importer of Kazakh wheat to China. The parties also discussed the possibility of purchasing other crops such as flax, barley, sunflower, and rapeseed.
Official representatives of Kazakhstan also held a meeting in Washington DC, where mutual interest in enhancing cooperation in politics, security, and trade was confirmed. The initiative to establish an International Biological Security Agency was also discussed as representatives of USAID and KazAid had a dialogue about the development of the Trans-Caspian route and reforms in Kazakhstan's energy sector.
However, Bishkek's relationship with the US took a rocky turn, as the US prepares to impose a package of sanctions suspecting Kyrgyz companies from assisting Russia in bypassing Western restrictions. This was reported by The Washington Post, citing two US officials familiar with the plans of the Biden administration. American authorities may impose restrictive measures against Kyrgyzstan this week, which may include both sanctions and the inclusion of Kyrgyz companies in a blacklist.
Meanwhile, Tashkent's main victories lie in the energy sector. The government announced five new PPP projects to construct HPPs. The project will be undertaken by Uzbekhydroenergo, which estimates the projects at nearly $107m with a total capacity of 46 MW. The selected financial consultant is Synergy Consulting, while technical consultation will be done by Turkish Dolsar Engineering. This will be the country's first major PPP project in the hydropower sector.
Successes were also observed in the field of logistics, where Uzbekistan plans to build and long-term lease seaports and warehouses in the ports of Georgia. A memorandum on this was signed during the visit of a government delegation led by Uzbekistan's PM Abdullah Aripov to Tbilisi. The signatory is Uztekstilprom, which will create a logistics center in a free industrial zone near the Georgian port of Poti.
Another victory for the economy was an agreement with the Kirov region of Russia to build a trade hub. The regional authorities proposed cooperation in forestry, mechanical engineering, and chemical sectors. However, the Russian side did not yet announce specific timelines for the implementation of the project and the volume of planned investments. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan's trade turnover with the Kirov region already stands at $30m for 2022.
Still, the undisputed winner of the week in terms of big deal announced was Ashgabat, as it plans to build plants worth $2.5bn with South Korea. These were discussed at a meeting between the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan and South Korean PM, who is interested in building a plant for the production of phosphate fertilizers in the city of Turkmenabat and a plant for the production of urea and ammonia fertilizers in the Balkan region.
In turn, Tajikistan boasts victories in relations with the Czech Republic - the countries discussed the prospects of economic and industrial cooperation at a meeting between the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Tajikistan and the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. They plan to team up in the fields of industry, mechanical engineering, textiles, processing, mining, metallurgy, electrical engineering, energy, as well as in the transportation and trade sectors.
Another important meeting for the Tajik Ministry was negotiations with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, where the creation of a joint industrial zone and a textile complex in the city of Kulob was proposed. During the visit to Yekaterinburg, the Minister also met with the management of Russian companies producing copper to discuss cooperation in the field of non-ferrous metallurgy.
To top these developments off, a report was issued on the progress of the startup ecosystem in Eurasia, covering the Stans and then some. Read it here!