Under the stewardship of Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation with a population of 36 million, has emerged as a pivotal global player. The country has expanded its international trade while actively seeking tourists and foreign investments. A mere decade ago, Uzbekistan was a closed authoritarian state where foreign investors faced challenges and forced labor was prevalent, particularly among women and children in cotton harvesting.
Mirziyoyev’s Ascent: Initiating Reform
Born into a family of medical professionals in 1957, Shavkat Mirziyoyev‘s trajectory from serving as a scientific researcher in agricultural machinery to becoming a parliamentarian, mayor, and eventually Prime Minister, endowed him with a deep understanding of Uzbekistan’s economic and administrative challenges. Upon assuming the presidency in 2016, Mirziyoyev spearheaded sweeping reforms, liberating political prisoners, making the currency convertible, easing bureaucratic impediments for businesses, and bolstering international relationships.
Economic Evolution Through Foreign Investment
Post its separation from the USSR in 1991, Uzbekistan inherited a Soviet economic structure comprising outdated industrial units and a nascent consumer goods sector. The country grappled with a burgeoning population and insufficient job opportunities, leading many citizens to seek work abroad. Mirziyoyev’s strategy focused on revitalizing the economy through foreign investments and state asset privatization, with Germany emerging as a key European partner. Over $2.5 billion of German investments flowed into Uzbekistan in the last two years alone, with approximately 200 German-affiliated companies operating in the country.
International Trade Expansion: A Growth Catalyst
Uzbekistan, a significant exporter of cotton, uranium, gold, fruits, and vegetables, previously monopolized the production and export of many goods. Mirziyoyev abolished the globally criticized practice of coerced cotton harvesting, prioritizing private and foreign investments in cotton processing and textile development. Germany stands as Uzbekistan’s primary European trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $1.2 billion last year, primarily involving German exports of industrial equipment and Uzbek imports of agricultural produce, textiles, and apparel.
Green Energy Embrace
To diminish reliance on fossil fuels and modernize the economy, Mirziyoyev aims to elevate renewable energy’s share to 40% of the country’s energy mix by 2030. Uzbekistan is actively partnering with Europe, China, and the Middle East to inaugurate new solar and wind power facilities. Drawing inspiration from Germany, Uzbekistan now conducts competitive bids for projects aimed at undercutting prevailing electricity rates. Additionally, households installing solar panels receive state subsidies, aligning with the nation’s transition towards green energy.
Future Prospects for Uzbekistan
Mirziyoyev recently ratified Uzbekistan’s 2030 Development Strategy, a collaborative effort involving various ministries, parliamentarians, and experts to double GDP, bolster exports, enhance education and healthcare, and elevate citizens’ incomes above the global average. Uzbekistan seeks to attract $110 billion in foreign investments to achieve these ambitions, with Germany poised to be a steadfast partner in realizing these objectives.
Through Mirziyoyev‘s visionary leadership, Uzbekistan has embarked on a trajectory of openness, economic diversification, and enhanced global competitiveness, fostering a promising future for the nation and its people.