Population of Uzbekistan will go for presidential polls on December 4th this year. After the gaining Independence in 1991, Uzbeks have to elect 2nd head of the state. The 4 running to this job candidates represent 4 political parties that are present in Uzbek Parliament.
However, media pundits put as a favourite the frontrunner Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev – the current Acting head of the state and long term Prime Minister of Uzbekistan. Opinions’ study of Uzbek voters shows, that Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev commands support of majority population of Uzbekistan. This is due to of his record of a tough but effective administrator of economy of Uzbekistan, his ability to enforce implementation of the decisions, taken by central government institutions.
One need to say, that Uzbekistan has been enjoying about 7 to 8% rise of GDP during the last more than 12 years. That stability and continuous economic growth of Uzbek economy is another factor that greatly contribute to the confidence and support by the population of current acting head of government and his team.
For a historically short time since Independence, Uzbekistan’s economy increased by 5.5 times in 25 years. The GDP per capita at purchasing power parity for this period increased by 4 times, and now accounts almost USD7100, despite the fact, that the population of country increased by almost 2 times: from 19 million to 32 million people of present. Since 2005, the state budget has been being executed with a surplus that contributes to macroeconomic stability.
The sustainable economic growth and the balance of the main macroeconomic indicators, especially during the most acute phase of the global financial and economic crises of 1998 and 2008-2009, showed the efficiency of the most important priorities of reforms and areas of socio-economic development of the country, carried out by the Government of Uzbekistan.
The country has created entirely new industries, such as automotive, oil-gas chemical complex, production of modern building materials, railway engineering, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, modern food processing, textiles and many others.
According to World Bank, despite the worsening situation in the world markets, Uzbekistan’s growth has remained at about 7 to 8 percent in recent years. The World Bank supports Uzbekistan’s vision of becoming an industrialized, high-middle-income country by 2030. Critical elements for this transformation include: (a) increasing economic efficiency and competitiveness and reducing dependence on a few commodity exports; (b) strengthening the financial sector to support private entrepreneurial activity; (c) diversifying production toward tower value-added activities that demonstrate comparative advantage; (d) creating jobs for the rapidly growing young population; and (e) improving governance, including access to information on government policies and their outcomes.
Since the country joined the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1995, ADB has approved more loans to Uzbekistan than to any other country in Central Asia. Uzbekistan has received 59 loans totaling USD5.1 billion, including two private sector loans totaling USD225 million and USD64.9 million in technical assistance grants. According to “Asian Development Outlook 2016” the economic forecast for Central Asia countries shows that Uzbekistan has one of the high growth rates among that countries, which for 2016 is forecasting on the level of 6,9%, while other countries have much lower figures, such as: Turkmenistan (5,5%), Tajikistan (3,8%), Kazakhstan (0,1%) and Kyrgyz Republic (1,0%). The economic forecast for 2017 shows that Uzbekistan will be also leading country in terms of economic growth among Central Asia countries, with 7.3%, “Asian Development Outlook 2016” points out.
According to “Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency” by World Bank and the IFC, Uzbekistan took the 87th place among 189 countries of the world, significantly higher compared to 141st place that Uzbekistan has taken in the previous report of “Doing business” in 2014.
The most significant improvement in the rating of Uzbekistan noted for getting credit (42nd place, +63 positions), that is the result of practical implementation of several laws of Uzbekistan, such as: «On exchange of credit information», «On the pledge registry» and other legal acts, which contributed further improvement of the mechanisms of collateral and the establishment and operation of a modern, unified collateral registry, as well as improve the efficiency of «Credit Bureau» of the country.
Today Uzbekistan looms as a heartland and hub not only for stability and security on entire Central Asia, but also as an engine of inclusive model of regional development, rising and promising market for countries and companies from all over the world.
Malaysia is a key and major partner of Uzbekistan among ASEAN countries and as such considered by Tashkent as a hub to expand bilateral and multilateral political, trade and economic and humanitarian cooperation with member-states of Association. Economies of Malaysia and Uzbekistan and are mostly mutually complimentary that means , Malaysian products produced here are of great demand in Uzbek marker, and vise-versa, Uzbek manufactured industrial products and especially textile, fruits, vegetables and other types of food-staffs, fertilizers and some more are of big demand in our market.
Uzbekistan is one of the ancient centers of Islamic civilization, with unique historical and cultural monuments in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and other cities.
Country is a host of Great Medieval thinkers and Islamic philosophers, like Imam al-Bukhari; founder of modern medicine – Abu Ali Ibn Sina (more famous in Europe as Avicenna. Western Europeans being unable to pronounce name of Abu Ali Ibn Sina, gave him name of “Avicenna”.); founder of modern mathematics – Abu Abdullah Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi, who founded “algorithms”.
As acknowledgment of Uzbekistan to Islam and the Islamic civilization, in 2016 Uzbekistan is elected to be chair of Organization of Islamic Cooperation. On October 18-19th this year Tashkent successfully hosted 43rd session of Council of Ministers of OIC Countries.
The unique heritage of ancient architects of Uzbekistan attracts many tourists from all over the world, including Malaysia. That’s why, interest of Malaysian tourists to the ancient culture, historical and architectural monuments, unique culture of Uzbekistan, which is one of the most striking countries of Central Asia, grows steadily. In 2015 more than 2000 Malaysian tourists Uzbekistan and about 11000 Uzbek tourists visited Malaysia.
If Malaysia provides opportunity to enjoy year along tropic resort climate, Uzbekistan has four seasons, including winters with snow and many ski resorts in addition to ancient legendary cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva and some others. For many Malaysians, these cities have for many decades were associated with memories of fairy-tale places in far away. Today, there are very close thanks to three times a week direct flights carried out by Uzbekistan Airways along route Kuala Lumpur-Tashkent-Kuala Lumpur. Summing up, I am very optimistic about the prospects of cooperation of Uzbekistan with Malaysia and ASEAN countries in coming years.