Business and Economics
The rather crappy photos above are of Kumtor tractor trailer convoys in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan. The close-up shows one convoy parked outside of Barksayn (Барскаун, a.k.a., Barskoon, Barkaun, etc.), the second shows a full convoy that had been blocked on the road in Barskayn for mechanical reasons (an engine overheated in the lead truck), and the third shows a convoy with a police escort in one of the hamlets that rest along the Lake’s South Shore, which is less populated than the more touristy North Shore. I remember the cops being rather dramatic: sirens wailing, driving way up ahead of the trucks, frantically waving at pedestrians to get out of the way. I was surprised by the frequency with which the convoys came and went. Since I’m not at all an expert on resource issues, I’ve no idea what’s contained in these trucks (if anything; they could have been empty).
I took these photos back in April 2011 but misplaced them in the wilderness of my hard drive. However, today’s report from Bankwatch.org concerning the mining industry in Kyrgyzstan (http://bankwatch.org/sites/default/files/Kumtor-MoranReport-31Jan2012.pdf) has prompted me to dig them up (pun intended). The report explores a lot of the difficulties that exist trying to get a technical and ecological audit on the mine and other related mining ventures. I recommend reading it.
“The water that serveth all that country is drawn by ditches out of the River Oxus, into the great destruction of the said river, for which it cause it falleth not into the Caspian Sea as it hath done in times past, and in short time all that land is like to be destroyed, and to become a wilderness for want of water, when the river of Oxus shall fail.”
Sometimes I think that people of Uzbekistan with a 28 million population know less about one of the greatest catastrophe in their own country than people worldwide. One of the reasons of it is the governmental propaganda of the successes in the policies towards its citizens. Another one is that the tragedy is being considered as not only the one of Uzbekistan but also of Kazakhstan, neighboring country rich of oil, and, considered as a main responsible side.
I found out about the Aral Sea ecological disaster when I became a freshman in my undergraduate studies. We had an introduction of our class and my then-future fellows introduced themselves. As myself, majority of students were from the capital city of Tashkent. The distribution among provinces represented the wealth and accessibility of the education in the most prestigious university of Uzbekistan: Tashkent, ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand were in top three in representation. All of them were telling their mostly enthusiastic live stories and what inspired them to study at the University. Except for one 17 year old guy who looked much older for us: skin on his face was flabby; he had a permanent cough and was breathing very hard; he was so thin and tall that for the rest of our five year education he had been called a “Skeleton”; the manner of speaking was slow but the way of thinking was critical and, as I understood later, more realistic than ours. Read the full story »
On December 6, 2011, the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Uzbekistan, providing the framework for World Bank Group assistance to Uzbekistan between 2012 and 2015, World Bank press-service reports.
The new Strategy proposes a program linked to Uzbekistan’s development vision of reaching high middle-income status by mid-century. It was developed based on a broad dialogue with the Government of Uzbekistan and consultations with all development partners, including civil society organizations, academia, business communities, professional associations, and multilateral and bilateral donors.
Through implementation of the CPS, the World Bank intends to help enhance the key elements of the Government’s medium-term growth and development strategy: promoting efficiency, enhancing competitiveness, accelerating diversification, and ensuring social inclusion. A new financing envelope of US$1.3 billion – consisting of concessional International Development Association (IDA) credits and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans – reflects the country’s development needs, its income level, economic prospects, economic management, poverty level, and performance of Bank-sponsored programs. Read the full story »
The same day Transparency International issued its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 (CPI) that ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, and where Uzbekistan is in a group of six most corrupted countries — Uzbek State Property Committee and Prosecutor General’s office hosted a seminar dedicated to UN’s Convention Against Corruption: realities and challenges of its implementation in Uzbekistan.
OSCE, which is one of the main financial supporters of this sort of nominal events, was also represented by a guy, who talked about general situation with corruption in the world.
One of the main points of the State Property Committee was that a Plan of Action and Code of Conduct was elaborated to fight corruption in Uzbekistan.
To me, the results of a poll on Olam.uz web site “What measures do you propose to take towards currupted [officials]?” impressed me more than useless statements of officials during the seminar. Read the full story »
Corruption in Post-Soviet Central Asia is something very familiar to people living in the region. Without bribing, one is destined to see their case be delayed for a long time, very often beyond time limits defined by laws.
Be it application for a new passport, or registration at a new place of living, or even finding a day care for your kid — bribing is the easiest way to get it all done faster and without a hassle.
Transparency International (TI) has released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 (CPI) that ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. According to TI, it is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including experts living and working in the countries/territories evaluated.
This year Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have proved that they can also have stablility in something — if not positive and progressive, then at least something not really desirable by leaders of developed countries. That something is the abuse of public power. Read the full story »
Alright, this is getting really funny — the more people express their opinion on Starbucks and KFC potentially coming to Uzbekistan the more we receive shots from neweurasia‘s friends. One of them, KFC Kokand style, called “Kokand Fried Chicken.”
A reader from Kokand sent us this picture explaining that the product has been sold at bazaars in the central part of the ancient city of Kokand, Fergana region. It’s just a “package” of chicken: one can buy as much as they want — no weight limits :)
Since the day we have covered the “Starbucks-coming-soon-to-Uzbekistan?” issue, there has been a great interest by my friends wondering if that’s for real and when it would be opened. There was some coverage by other media outlet that covers Centarl Asia.
In order to find out if the picture by an Uzbek user on Facebook was not photoshopped, I decided to visit the place located at Shevchenko street, downtown Tashkent.
I was not surprised to see that coming-soon coffee shop nearby Perfectum mobile cellular company and Nobel Pharmsanoat pharmacy factory — well-known Starbucks logo made me feel like I will get a chance to try some Caramel Frappuccino soon! Read the full story »
According to official information, the Hungarian leader is expected to hold bilateral talks on the highest level during the visit, and sign a joint declaration outlining the prospects of Uzbek-Hungarian cooperation.
A range of intergovernmental and interagency documents are anticipated to be inked to cover political, trade-economic, investment, scientific and technical aspects of bilateral interaction, Uzbek President’s press-service reports.
As Uzbek MFA’s Jahon information agency reports, Hungary, during it’s Presidency in the Council of Eurporean Union initiated Karimov’s visit to Brussels where he met with President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Ettinger. Read the full story »
I visited the Facebook page of Starbucks to satisfy my interest in how many people around the world follow the company. How surprised would you be to see a photo posted by an Uzbek user, who was wondering if Starbucks is really coming to Uzbekistan? Yeah, so would I.
The ad on the building promises Starbucks coming soon. But how real is that?
To be honest, if that’s true then this could be a significant event to mark the American businesses’ raising interest in investing in Uzbekistan’s economy.
If not, then fans would just have a Déjà vu: couple years ago people of Tashkent already witnessed a presence of a fake Starbucks — coffee mugs, t-shirts, coffee with a label of a popular coffee company were on sale. But there was a problem — it was all fake! Guess who was in charge of that? Your guess is right — Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who accomodated the coffee shop at her compound nearby Premier hall and former Basha night club, with an undercover title: “La Shakar.” Read the full story »
Due to the current departure of pilgrims from around the world, Uzbek “businessmen” (as well as “businesswomen”) of local “black” markets decided to increase their income by simply raising the USD per Uzbek soum (UZS) exchange rate while Uzbek Hajjis to-be do their last preparations, including the financial side of it.
To get to know how “black” exchange market actors do their cynic — but business-and-no-sincerity-proven — operations one could just go to any bazaar where the above mentioned businessmen present. For future Hajjis (Hajji — a status given to those who travelled to holy places of Mekka and Medina in Saudi Arabia during certain time during a year) it’s convenient to have U.S. dollars rather than Uzbek soums simply because of the possibility to exchange the first would be much easier abroad.
Theoretically, to get the American money in their pockets they could just go to any local bank and exchange their valuable soums in to U.S. dollars. But, wait a second! We are in Uzbekistan which is a country where logically approved events have a practically proven controversies. And money exchange is one of the most significant ones in the field of economics. Read the full story »