According to World Bank, growth of Kazakhstan’s economy will decrease to 3.5% this year as oil production growth levels off and further fiscal consolidation efforts continue. Global growth slowdown could decrease remittances from Russia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan lead the region in share of remittances to GDP at 35% and 32% respectively.
China and Central Asia have been witnessing a boom in trade volume, especially in energy sector. In 2018, Central Asian countries exported 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China, a 30% increase from 2017.
Largest solar power station, not only in Kazakhstan, but also throughout Central Asia, with a capacity of 100 megawatts, was launched in Karaganda region near Astana in January, 2019. An international team of investors and specialists from Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia executed the project. The plant uses 307,000 PV panels which cost $137 million.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are planning to introduce a new common "Silk Visa" which will enable foreigners with a valid visa from either country to travel in both countries. This "Asian Schengen" visa would increase trust between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and boost tourism of both countries. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have also expressed interest in joining this project.
Turkmenistan has started building a $2.3 billion highway connecting its capital to the Uzbek border as part of a plan to diversify the economy by developing the logistics and transportation sectors. Turkmenistan wants to offer Uzbekistan, a major exporter of metals and agricultural commodities, access to Caspian Sea from where cargo can be shipped to Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
Kazakhstan has attracted more than $300 billion in FDI since independence, making the country the leading investment destination in Central Asia. Over the past two years alone, foreign investors have brought over $20 billion to Kazakhstan’s economy.
EU Special Representative for Central Asia Peter Burian stated that Uzbekistan could become an economic leader of Central Asia and that EU is ready to support the country’s initiatives with grants as well.
February 28, 2019