President of Uzbekistan outlines the priorities of the country’s investment policy and the main areas of cooperation with foreign partners

17:50 02 May 2024 Politcs
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On May 2, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev participated in the plenary meeting of the Third Tashkent International Investment Forum at the Congress Center in Tashkent.

The event was attended by a distinguished lineup of international leaders, including Vice President of the Republic of Türkiye Cevdet Yılmaz, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore Seah Kian Peng, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Japarov, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Odile Renaud-Basso, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Tatiana Molcean, President of the OPEC Fund for International Development Abdulhamid Alkhalifa and others. The forum became a hub of international discourse, hosting over two thousand five hundred participants from ninety-three nations worldwide.

Over the past three years, the international forum, organized on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, has emerged as an effective platform for enhancing bilateral and multilateral investment cooperation, discussing the most pressing problems, and developing advanced ideas and approaches for solving them.
At the beginning of his speech, the Head of state welcomed the session participants and also noted that the forum’s escalating influence and appeal are a testament to the widespread interest in the irreversible reforms underway in the country and in establishing mutually beneficial cooperation.
It was noted that the conference is taking place during a period of increasing global geopolitical and economic problems, challenges, and threats to sustainable development.
The world is undergoing significant transformations. The instability is manifested through supply chain disruptions, a downturn in trade and investment, and the intensification of climate-related disasters.
The Uzbek President highlighted the downward trend in the global economy’s growth over the last three years. The trends related to foreign direct investments are not meeting expectations either. In 2023, the total volume of investments in developing countries decreased by 9%.
- Undoubtedly, the current global competition for investors is intense, - noted Shavkat Mirziyoyev. - Yet, it’s becoming increasingly clear that no single nation can tackle such pressing issues in isolation. The enduring values of mutual trust and respect, along with the principle of mutual support remain solid pillars of long-term cooperation.
The President of Uzbekistan outlined the significant measures being undertaken to substantially improve the investment and business environment fundamentally and to eliminate obstacles step by step. In this regard, comprehensive reforms are being implemented to ensure every entrepreneur feels free and confident.
Consequently, the country’s economy has nearly doubled in recent years. The growth rate reached 6 percent by the end of the previous year while inflation has decreased to 9 percent.  Trade turnover is steadily increasing, and the stability of the national currency and foreign exchange reserves is being maintained.
Over the past few years, our nation has attracted and utilized over 60 billion USD of foreign investments, and over 14 billion USD from international financial institutions have been directed to social and infrastructure projects. 
The volume of foreign investments nearly doubled last year.
The launching of more than 300 investment and industrial projects with major companies and brands such as ACWA Power, Masdar, Total Eren, Voltalia, Ҫalɩk and Aksa in the energy sector; Air Products, Indorama and CAMCE in the chemical industry, Orano and DANIELI in mining and metallurgy; BYD, Kia, and Samsung in automobiles and electrical engineering; and Koҫ and KNAUF in the construction industry was noted with great satisfaction. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs were created as a result.
Today, we are launching new large-scale projects with world-renowned companies such as Linde, Orascom, DataVolt, Bonafarm, PASHA Holding, and others at this forum.
The decisions taken and the ongoing work on further liberalization of the economy, creation of a favorable investment climate, and comprehensive expansion of opportunities for doing business were underlined.

These include preferences for foreign investors on dividend taxes, strengthening the legal framework of the privatization process, expanding the privatization program, introducing an entrepreneur sustainability rating, developing the infrastructure of industrial zones, and introducing a transparent system for land allocation.

In addition, plans are to extend the conditions for implementing projects based on public-private partnerships to the social sphere and infrastructure. Efforts to harmonize national legislation as part of efforts to join the World Trade Organization are gaining momentum.

The Tashkent International Arbitration Center is functioning to ensure fair resolution of disputes. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy until 2030 is being developed.

Another significant indicator for investors is the remarkable growth in higher education coverage, which has surged from 9% to 42% over the past seven years and the number of higher education institutions has exceeded 200. Uzbekistan introduced a visa-free regime for more than 90 countries.

– Our main goal is to make Uzbekistan a reliable and long-term partner for foreign investors, – the President of Uzbekistan said.

The country is committed to developing a market economy, ensuring reliable protection of investors’ rights, further improving investment and business environment, creating more comfortable conditions for fair competition, and ensuring the safety of private property and the independence of the judiciary system.

All these principles are firmly enshrined in the new Constitution adopted in the national referendum last year.

In particular, following the procedures and standards of the World Trade Organization, a new draft of the Law on Investments was developed. The first international commercial court will start working in our country soon.

Introducing a completely new system of industrial zone activity will create even more favorable conditions for high-tech investment projects. In this context, it was proposed that all restrictions on the duration of the operation of special economic zones be abolished and that the lease period of land for foreign investors be increased from 25 to 49 years.

Within the framework of the Uzbekistan – 2030 Strategy, the goal is to double the per capita income by 2030 and attain a position among the countries with an above-average income level.

In his address, the Head of state specifically focused on priority areas for expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign investors.

First – green energy. Expanding the energy sector is crucial for the prosperity of the entire region. Currently, 28 projects are being implemented in this direction.

The goal is to create more than 20 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030 and increase its share in the energy balance to 40 percent.

Large wind and solar power plants are being built in cooperation with strategic partners, and production of green hydrogen has begun. Last year alone, large wind and solar power plants with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts were launched.

Also, projects for the joint construction of hydroelectric power stations in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be presented in the Forum.

Noting that these projects are being implemented based on public-private partnerships, the Leader of Uzbekistan invited leading companies from all countries to participate in an open dialogue and practical cooperation.

Second – banking sector. In recent years, many private banks have been opened in Uzbekistan. Leading European banks have entered the country’s market and several digital banks are operating.

At the forum, an agreement was signed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to privatize Asakabank, one of Uzbekistan's leading banks.

Also, the transformation and privatization processes of the nation’s other large banks continue cooperating with the International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank.

Third – joint development of mineral resources. Uzbekistan has vast reserves of mineral resources and critical metals. Our nation boasts substantial reserves of gold, copper, tungsten, silver, uranium, and over 30 other rare metals.

Noting the established strategic cooperation last month with the European Union in the field of critical raw materials, the President of Uzbekistan announced the development of similar agreements with the United States and Great Britain, as well as invited leading companies for partnership in the field of deep processing of strategic raw materials and creation of value-added chain.

Adopting an updated version of the Law "On Subsoil Resources", developed based on international experience, will also give a new impetus to the development of cooperation.

The fourth - is the digital transformation of the country. The export of IT services and software products has doubled over the year, and the target is to increase its volume to 5 billion USD.

The Head of state noted the opportunities for foreign investors to participate in implementing promising IT projects, including developing digital solutions for the economy, introducing artificial intelligence technologies, and creating green data centers.

The President of Uzbekistan paid particular attention to advancing transport infrastructure.

Substantial reforms are being made in the railway sector opening wide opportunities for private investors. Projects on the modernization of existing international airports and the construction of new ones are being prepared.

It was noted that initial work has started on the construction of railways China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan with our foreign partners. These strategic projects will fundamentally change the geo-economy of the region and will transform Central Asia into the global transit center that connects North and South, East and West.

Uzbekistan invites investors and international organizations to participate in these major regional projects.

– Investments are the main driver of our country’s transformation and a solid vital driver of economic development, – the President of Uzbekistan noted. 

In conclusion, the Head of state expressed his confidence that the International Investment Forum and its fruitful negotiations will raise practical cooperation to an entirely new, even higher level.

Speakers at the session expressed high appreciation for Uzbekistan's comprehensive progress and shared their opinions and proposals for further strengthening and enhancing cooperation.

During the plenary session, the President participated in the launch of 15 new investment projects worth 8.7 billion USD, and 5 industrial facilities with a total value of 2.8 billion USD were put into operation.

The Tashkent International Investment Forum will conclude its work on 3 May.

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