May 24, 2019

Uzbekistan, now wide open to foreign investment

By Dr. Eugenio Matos Gomez.

The First International Tourism Investment Forum took place in Tashkent between 19 & 20, November 2018. We had the opportunity to interview several important persons, including Mr. Abdulaziz Akkulov who was the Acting Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Development of Tourism.

He expects that Uzbekistan will double the number of tourists in 2019. Last year, 5.5million visited Uzbekistan, compared to 2.7 million in 2017. “This is a huge achievement for us”, he said during a short discussion we had with him on Nov. 19th. This country is a hidden gem in Asia. The two-days promotional forum aimed at attracting foreign investments to Uzbekistan with quick investment-returns for potential entrepreneurs.

 

The forum was very well attended, counting with an abound of prospect investors from over 50 countries, having the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Chinese companies as one of its largest financial supporters. There  are many regions to highlight during this event, including Samarkand. They all offer a series of investment opportunities”, told us Dilshod Narzikulov, First Deputy Director from Samarkand. He says that by 2025, Uzbekistan should receive some 8.5 million visitors, and almost 10 million by 2026, reason why there is an urgent need for accommodation, supplies and services.

During the Forum, the government announced some 530 touristic projects all over the country, varying from small to five star hotels, restaurants, entertainment, theme parks, transportation, services, private hospitals, sports centers and the like. Proposed projects now open to foreign investors have the option to own their businesses as sole proprietorship, as a single owner. The Government provides the land and services.

 

Uzbekistan Kundzhutlitea (Kashkadarva).

What makes the difference amongst standard international investments? It was our question to local promoters. “The State provides comfortable warranties to investors and fast returns, which are key factors. They will get excellent general public services, including water supply, electricity and gas where necessary”.

Tourism development is a major priority for the government, considering its landlocked situation in Central Asia. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has only two years in power after the passing of the autocratic leader Islam Karimov. Mirziyoyev is opening his country to the world as never seen before. “We are much better of since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took power in 2016, thanks to his reforms, liberalization policies and dismantlement of old-fashioned regulations”, answered nine out of ten interviewees we have approached at Samarkand bazar meat market on 21st November 2018.

Participants attending the Uzbekistan Tourism Investment Forum.

Uzbekistan offers above all security for tourists and investors. Uzbek people are extremely friendly to help tourists. This nation has a privileged local production at all levels; Uzbekistan is the world’s fifth-largest cotton exporter and seventh-largest producer. Uzbekistan’s growth has been driven primarily by state-led investments, and export of natural gas, gold, and cotton including an automotive industry (Chevrolet and other brands), low cost public transportation, efficient health-care system; it enjoys an uncommon social and political stability, amongst other considerations.

For further information regarding foreign investment in Uzbekistan, please contact the Uzbek Embassy in Brussels:

belgium.mfa.uz / embassy@uzbekistan.be

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About the author: Senior Diplomat. Hon. Associate Publisher, Diplomat Magazine.  Expert on Public Diplomacy

 

 

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