Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation with a population of 36 million, has undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a significant international player. The country has actively expanded its global trade, attracted foreign investments, and encouraged tourism. It’s remarkable to think that just a decade ago, Uzbekistan was a closed authoritarian state riddled with obstacles for foreign investors and widespread forced labor, particularly in the cotton industry.
Mirziyoyev’s Leadership: Initiating a Paradigm Shift
Born into a family of healthcare professionals in 1957, Shavkat Mirziyoyev‘s diverse career, ranging from academia to various administrative roles, equipped him with a profound understanding of Uzbekistan’s economic landscape. Assuming office in 2016, Mirziyoyev spearheaded comprehensive reforms, releasing political prisoners, enabling currency convertibility, streamlining bureaucratic processes for businesses, and strengthening global partnerships.
Economic Renaissance through Foreign Investment
After Uzbekistan’s separation from the USSR in 1991, the nation inherited a Soviet-style economic structure with outdated industries and an underdeveloped consumer goods sector. Coupled with rapid population growth and a scarcity of job opportunities, many Uzbek citizens sought work abroad. Mirziyoyev’s strategy focused on revitalizing the economy through foreign investments and the privatization of state-owned assets, with Germany emerging as a crucial European partner. Over the past two years, Uzbekistan has attracted over $2.5 billion in German investments, with approximately 200 German-affiliated companies operating within its borders.
Expanding International Trade: Fuelling Economic Growth
Uzbekistan, known for exporting cotton, uranium, gold, fruits, and vegetables, previously controlled the production and export of many commodities. Under Mirziyoyev’s governance, the practice of coerced cotton harvesting was abolished, allowing private and foreign investments in cotton processing and textiles. Germany stands as Uzbekistan’s primary European trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to $1.2 billion last year, largely driven by German exports of industrial equipment and Uzbek imports of agricultural produce, textiles, and apparel.
Embracing Green Energy Initiatives
To reduce reliance on fossil fuels and modernize the economy, Mirziyoyev aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 40% of Uzbekistan’s energy mix by 2030. Collaborating actively with Europe, China, and the Middle East, Uzbekistan is embracing new solar and wind power projects. Inspired by Germany, the country introduced competitive bidding for projects aimed at reducing electricity costs. Moreover, households installing solar panels receive state subsidies, marking significant strides toward embracing green energy practices.
Future Trajectory for Uzbekistan
Mirziyoyev recently endorsed Uzbekistan’s 2030 Development Strategy, a collaborative blueprint aimed at doubling GDP, elevating exports, enhancing education and healthcare, and surpassing global average incomes for citizens. The nation aspires to attract $110 billion in foreign investments to accomplish these goals, with Germany anticipated to play a pivotal role in this transformative journey.
Under Shavkat Mirziyoyev‘s visionary leadership, Uzbekistan is witnessing an unprecedented era marked by openness, economic diversification, and heightened global competitiveness, promising a bright future for the nation and its people.