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27/March/2022   Tashkent International Investment Forum

The measures the governments of the countries of the Central Asian region to strengthen cooperation, ensure a tangible increase in the inflow of foreign direct investment were discussed at the Tashkent International Investment Forum

TASHKENT, March 27. /Dunyo IA/. On the second day of the Tashkent International Investment Forum, a panel discussion was held on the topic: “The investment potential of Central Asia”, reports “Dunyo” IA correspondent.

According to Uzbekistan MIFT, the participants of the discussion discussed what measures the governments of the countries of the Central Asian region should take to strengthen cooperation, ensure a tangible increase in the inflow of foreign direct investment into the economies of the countries of the region, as well as what methods are most effective in this direction.

The discussion was moderated by Tatiana Proskuryakova, Regional Director of the World Bank for Central Asia. She started the discussion by asking why investors should invest in a particular country, and speakers shared their points of view.

Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov emphasized that in the states of Central Asia it is necessary to move away "from the principle of gaining something economically from the loss of another country."

- Actual issues that were with our neighboring countries have been removed in recent years. Who could have imagined some time ago that Uzbekistan would systematically increase the volume of trade with Pakistan through Afghanistan? Now cargo from the port of Karachi is delivered in four days. And last week we started the exchange of goods with India. It is necessary to use this day with benefit and work together, - said Sardor Umurzakov, speaking about the development potential of the countries of Central Asia and the possibilities of the forum as a platform for discussing these prospects.

Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kairbek Uskenbayev noted investment projects that were discussed as part of a series of events on the first day of the forum with the participation of the President of Uzbekistan. Among priorities of Kazakhstan for investors, the speaker noted stability and security, which are guaranteed at the level of legislation. He also stressed that it is important to create joint transport corridors that allow the sale of products manufactured in the country.

It is worth recalling that in his speech on the first day of the forum, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that as a result of the measures taken, the volume of annual foreign investment attracted to the economy of Uzbekistan has tripled. Their total volume over the past 5 years amounted to 25 billion dollars. At the same time, about 59 thousand investment projects were implemented, because of this more than 2.5 million new jobs were created.

Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs of Tajikistan Nematullo Hikmatullozoda said that investors consider a wide range of factors, including political stability and investment opportunities. The representative of the public sector dwelled separately on the conditions being created in Tajikistan. In particular, he noted that in this state the poverty level has been halved, and an increase in the share of small and medium-sized businesses has been recorded. One of the strategic goals of Tajikistan is active industrialization. In addition, measures are being taken at the government level to protect the rights of investors and create new investment opportunities.

Recall that the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan also spoke about creating the most comfortable and attractive conditions for investors in Uzbekistan and the course towards mutually beneficial partnerships with foreign partners and international organizations during the plenary session of the forum.

– We fully support the importance of this forum at the present time. We wish it to become an analogue of the Davos Forum for Central Asia,” said Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic Aziz Aaliev.

He also noted the words of the President of Uzbekistan on the political guarantees provided to private businesses in Uzbekistan, voiced on the first day of the forum. Speaking about Kyrgyzstan, the deputy chairman emphasized that there are similar measures in this country. “This is a reliable factor for investing in the country,” emphasized Aziz Aaliev.

Speaking about the investment advantages in Kyrgyzstan, he spoke about the liberalization of foreign exchange markets, cooperation with China, existing and being developed transit corridors. It was noted that in Kyrgyzstan, due to the development of small and medium-sized businesses, whose share is more than 40 per cent in GDP, the textile industry, mining and many other industries are actively developing.

“We were inspired by the experience of developing renewable energy sources in Uzbekistan,” said Aziz Aaliev. These are, in particular, the projects of the Emirati Masdar, as well as the Saudi ACWA Power. We would like to implement a similar experience in Kyrgyzstan. Our countries also have the potential to develop tourism, perhaps organizing joint routes in Central Asia countries.

Summing up the discussion, Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov put forward an initiative to create an integrated investment space that unites the countries of the region. He stressed that the economies of all Central Asian countries are unique in terms of specialization, certain industries and areas.

– Our advantage is that our economies are not competitors, but rather complementary, or rather, should complement each other. This is our strength, which could attract more investment to the countries of our region. From the first day of his leadership, the President of Uzbekistan has identified the countries of Central Asia as a priority vector of development. We have a huge number of "growth points" that we must use, - emphasized the Deputy Prime Minister.

One of the priorities is the removal of barriers to mutual trade. This is relevant in our time when the whole world is concerned with the issue of food security.

“We are working with the Central Asian countries on industrial cooperation projects to create products with high added value,” said Sardor Umurzakov. – We have specific examples, success stories, but these are just the first steps. We need to systematically and objectively analyze all the pluses, minuses, and advantages of the economies, provide a conjugation of our capabilities and come to our entrepreneurs with these proposals. With some colleagues from the Central Asian countries, we have already created models for financing such projects - for example, there are joint development investment funds for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. We have opportunities, it's up to the implementation. We need to get together more often, like on this forum, for example, to “compare time”.

The Vice Prime Minister also suggested using the forum's opportunities to create "road maps" for cooperation with representatives of the participating countries.

– From an economic point of view, our markets will be attractive when we have synchronization of conditions. We in the countries of Central Asia have the conditions and prerequisites to become leaders in the implementation of projects, the number of jobs created, the achievements in terms of eradicating poverty, creating a “world workshop”. For example, we are creating an industrial zone in Samarkand, where representatives from neighboring countries could launch industrial projects. We need to work together. We could use these competitive advantages - trade, the industrial and agricultural cooperation, as well as substantive cooperation on transport corridors and logistics opportunities. This is the key to unlocking our potential. It will have an effect.

Baghdad Amreev, Secretary-General of the Organization of Turkic States noted the need to coordinate the activities of the Central Asian countries within the framework of a special fund. He also spoke about the importance of creating a joint document on free trade in the field of services and investments. “Everything depends on the infrastructure, ” the speaker emphasized. Human capital is of great importance, as well as management.”

- Yesterday, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev fully revealed the possibilities of Uzbekistan. We noted that the president has a powerful team. Such leaders are especially needed today, so we look at the development of the country with great optimism. By the way, the next summit of the Organization of Turkic States will be in Uzbekistan,” said Baghdad Amreev.

Stephanie von Friedeburg, Senior Vice President, Operations, International Finance Corporation emphasized the priorities for unlocking the investment potential of the Central Asian countries, which include the development of infrastructure, the creation of railways and highways, and the improvement of conditions for business investors. She noted that all transformational processes should be transparent and understandable, this is especially true for customs and tax policies and other aspects. Stephanie von Friedeburg also noted the scale and significance of individual projects implemented in the country, in particular, a photoelectric power plant in the Navoi region, projects of the foreign company Indorama in the textile industry, and others.

Japan Bank Vice Chairman for International Cooperation Nobumitsu Hayashi said: “Our bank is 100% state-owned. Our clients are manufacturers from Japan, China, India, as well as the USA, but there are no CA countries there. I am sure that in the future the countries of the region will be included in this list.”

TIIF, held in Uzbekistan for the first time, brought together participants from 56 countries on its platform, who had the opportunity to discuss the investment, trade, economic and industrial potential of Uzbekistan, prospects for the development of regional and global trade relations, mechanisms for attracting investments.

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