02 May 2024

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

On May 2, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in the plenary meeting of the third Tashkent International Investment Forum at the capital’s Congress Center, the press service of the head of our state reports.

The event was also attended by Vice President of the Republic of Turkey Cevdet Yilmaz, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore Sia Kian Peng, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Akilbek Japarov, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Odile Renaud-Basso, Deputy General UN Secretary Tatyana Molchan, President of the OPEC International Development Fund Abdulhamid Al-Khalifa and others. In total, over two and a half thousand foreign guests arrived from 93 countries of the world.

Over the past three years, the international forum, organized on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, has become an effective platform for expanding 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 our state welcomed the session participants and noted that the growing authority and demand for this format indicate great interest in the reforms being carried out in our country, which have become irreversible, as well as in the establishment of mutually beneficial cooperation.

It was noted that today’s event is taking place in the context of increasing systemic problems in global politics and the world economy, risks and threats to sustainable development.

Deep processes of transformation of the world order are taking place. The instability of the situation is clearly evidenced by disruptions in the supply chain of goods and services, a decline in international trade, a decrease in the flow of investment, and intensifying climate change.

The President of our country emphasized that the growth rate of the global economy has been slowing down over the past three years. The growth trends in foreign direct investment also do not live up to expectations. Thus, in 2023, the total volume of investment in developing countries decreased by 9 percent.

– Of course, we understand well that today there is a serious struggle for investors in the world, – said Shavkat Mirziyoyev. – However, one constant truth is becoming increasingly clear: no country can solve such pressing problems alone. The spirit of trust and respect, the principle of mutual support remain a solid foundation for long-term cooperation.

The leader of Uzbekistan listed the decisive steps being taken to radically improve the investment and business environment in our country, and to gradually remove obstacles on this path. Large-scale reforms are being implemented to ensure that every investor feels free and confident.

As a result, the country’s economy has doubled in recent years; at the end of last year, its growth was 6 percent. The inflation rate dropped to 9 percent. Trade turnover indicators are steadily growing, and the stability of the currency exchange rate and gold and foreign exchange reserves remains stable.

In recent years, over $60 billion of foreign investment has been disbursed. More than $14 billion of funds from international financial institutions have been attracted to the social sphere and infrastructure development.

Last year alone, the volume of investment almost doubled.

The launch of more than 300 investment and industrial projects with such large companies and brands as “ACWA Power”, “Masdar”, “Total Eren”, “Voltalia”, “Ҫalɩk” and “Aksa” in the energy sector, “Air Products” was noted with great satisfaction “, “Indorama” and “CAMCE” in the chemical industry, “Orano” and “DANIELI” in the mining and metallurgical industries, “BYD”, “Kia” and “Samsung” in the automotive and electrical industries, “Koҫ”, “KNAUF” in construction industry. The result was the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

As part of the current forum, new major projects will be launched with such industry leaders as Linde, Orascom, DataVolt, Bonafarm, PASHA holding and other partners.

The decisions taken and the work being carried out to further liberalize the economy, create a favorable investment climate, and comprehensively expand business opportunities were emphasized.

In particular, we are talking about preferences for foreign investors on dividend taxes, strengthening the legal framework and expanding the privatization program, introducing an entrepreneur sustainability rating, developing the infrastructure of industrial zones, and introducing a transparent system for allocating land.

In addition, it is planned to extend the conditions for implementing projects on the basis of public-private partnership to the social sphere and infrastructure. Work on harmonizing national legislation is gaining momentum as part of efforts to join the World Trade Organization.

To ensure fair resolution of disputes, the Tashkent International Arbitration Center operates. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy until 2030 is being developed.

Another important indicator for investors. Over the past 7 years, enrollment in higher education has increased from 9 to 42 percent, and the number of higher educational institutions has exceeded 200.

Uzbekistan has introduced a visa regime for travel to more than 90 countries.

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

The state guarantees the development of market relations, reliable protection of the rights of investors, further improvement of a favorable investment and business environment, creation of greater opportunities and conditions for fair competition, ensuring the inviolability of private property and the independence of the judicial system.

All these principles are firmly enshrined in the new Constitution, adopted in a popular referendum held last year.

The leader of Uzbekistan outlined a number of specific proposals aimed at strengthening the protection of investor rights.

In particular, in accordance with the rules and standards of the WTO, a draft Law “On Investments” has been developed. The country’s first international commercial court will soon begin its activities.

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

In general, within the framework of the Uzbekistan 2030 Strategy, the goal is to double per capita income by 2030 and take a place among countries with upper-middle income levels.

The head of our state in his speech specifically focused on priority areas for expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign investors.

The first is “green energy”. Increasing the efficiency of the energy industry is important for our 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.

Together with strategic partners, large renewable energy facilities are being created, and work has begun in the field of “green hydrogen”. Just last year, together with the companies Masdar, Gezhouba, and China Energy, large wind and solar power plants with a capacity of
1.4 gigawatts.

Also within the framework of the Forum, a presentation of projects for the joint construction of hydroelectric power stations in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be held.

Noting that these projects are being implemented on the basis of public-private partnership, the leader of our country invited leading companies from all countries to an open dialogue and practical cooperation.

The second is the banking and financial sector. As a result of reforms in Uzbekistan, the number of private banks has increased, leading European banks have entered our market, and a number of digital banks have appeared.

As part of the Forum, an agreement was signed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the privatization of one of the large banks of Uzbekistan, Asakabank.

Also, processes of transformation and privatization of other large banks are actively underway with the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.

Approaches to the development of the capital market are being revised, and international financing instruments are being developed.

Third. Among the priorities of the mutually beneficial partnership is the joint development of mineral resources.

Uzbekistan has huge reserves of mineral resources and critical metals. There are colossal resources of gold, copper, tungsten, silver, uranium, and more than 30 rare earth metals.

Noting the established strategic interaction with the European Union in the field of critical raw materials, the President of our country announced the development of similar agreements with the United States and Great Britain, and also invited leading companies to partnership in the field for deep processing of strategic raw materials and creating an added value chain.

A new impetus for development will also be given by the adoption of the Law “On Subsoil”, developed on the basis of international experience.

Fourth – digital transformation of the country. Over the year, the export of IT services and software products has doubled, and a target has been set to bring its volume to $5 billion.

The head of our state noted the opportunities for foreign investors to participate in the implementation of promising IT projects, including the development of digital solutions for the economy, the introduction of artificial intelligence technologies, and the creation of “green” data centers.

The President of Uzbekistan paid special attention to the development of transport infrastructure.

Fundamental reforms are being implemented in the railway sector, and ample opportunities are being created to attract private investors in the construction of highways and high-speed railways. Projects are being prepared for the development of existing and construction of new international airports.

It was noted that work has begun with foreign partners on the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railways, which will radically change the geo-economic appearance of the region and turn Central Asia into a global transit center connecting North and South, East and West.

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

– Investment is the locomotive of transformation of our country and a strong driver of economic development, – noted the President of Uzbekistan.

In conclusion, the head of our state expressed confidence that the investment forum and the fruitful negotiations taking place on its margins will raise practical cooperation to a completely new, even higher level.

The speakers who spoke during the session highly appreciated the comprehensive progress achieved by Uzbekistan, shared their opinions and proposals for further strengthening and expanding cooperation.

As part of the plenary session, with the participation of the President, the implementation of 15 new investment projects totaling $8.7 billion was launched, as well as the activities of 5 industrial facilities with a total project value of $2.8 billion.

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