President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev launched a program to develop hydropower energy in Uzbekistan. The program aims at constructing 18 new hydro-power plants (HPPs) and modernizing 14 existing HPPs by 2021 at a cost of $2.65 billion. Reports also mentioned other hydropower projects to be realized by 2030 that would cost an additional $1.7 billion. This will increase share of hydroelectric power from the current 12.7% to 15.8%.
Kazakhstan was placed at 78th rank in Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 published by World Intellectual Property Organisation, Cornell University and INSEAD Business School. Other Central Asian countries figured at: Tajikistan (94th) and Kyrgyzstan (95th). Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are not covered by the Report. India is at number 60 having improved its position from 66 in 2016 and 81 in 2015. China is at 22.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President visited Kazakhstan for 4 days. He held talks with senior government officials about ADB’s new 2017-2021 Country Partnership Strategy. He also attended the Astana Economic Forum on regional cooperation and integration and Kazakhstan’s development perspectives. ADB’s current assistance to Kazakhstan includes support to strengthen transport infrastructure to boost cross-border trade, public sector lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises to increase employment and competitiveness, and programs to facilitate knowledge and best international practices. ADB is also working with government and other development partners to promote cross-border links through the CAREC program. Since its establishment in 2001, CAREC has financed more than 176 projects worth $30 billion, with ADB providing over $10 billion in assistance.
Between 2016 and 2017 Kazakhstan jumped from 51st to 35th place on World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings, with big improvements in ease of obtaining construction permits and electricity. A digital portal for basic interactions with state has curbed low-level corruption. Other Central Asian countries are Kyrgyzstan (75), Uzbekistan (87) and Tajikistan (128). Turkmenistan is not included in the rankings.
According to preliminary data, Kyrgyzstan’s GDP increased by 6.8% in January-May 2017. Industrial production increased by 34.7% compared with corresponding period last year. Food production grew by 19.1%. Production of clothing increased by 22%. Exports increased 3.1-fold. Imports increased due to increased sales of pharmaceutical products, confectionery, rice, and footwear.
Uzbekistan is studying prospects and possibilities for joining the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline. The issue was raised during recent visit of Uzbek President to Turkmenistan.
June 30, 2017