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media highlights of the week

Media Highlights of the Week

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Sep 16, 2020

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Energy and Economy

Tajikistan Resumes Electricity Supply to Afghanistan Tajikistan’s national power company Barqi Tojik announced that Tajikistan has resumed the delivery of electricity to Afghanistan following an increase in water volumes at the Nurek hydroelectric. Tajikistan is also planning to resume its electricity supply to Uzbekistan. Tajikistan had halted electricity exports in August after water levels dropped to unprecedented levels. Turkey to Build a Thermal Plant in Tashkent Region Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade held talks with Turkish energy company Cengiz Enerji on the construction of a thermal plant in Tashkent region on September 10. The proposed plant will have a 240 MW capacity and will create 500 new jobs while contributing to the energy security of Uzbekistan. Company Commissioned to Design the Anaklia Deep Water Port Releases Statement The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) released a statement claiming that the Georgian government was attempting “to undermine the [Anaklia Deep Water Port] project by dissuading potential project investors, lenders, contractors and suppliers from joining the project in order to kill it.” The consortium is demanding restitution and compensation for damages committed. AzerGold and Azerbaijani Education Ministry Affirm their Cooperation Azerbaijan’s gold mining company Azergold CJSC and the Education Ministry inked a cooperation agreement to improve vocational training in the country and manage the supply and demand in the labor market. AzerGold expects to hire 14,000 people in 2025-2029, most of whom will require vocational training. Kazakhstan to Develop Cryptocurrency Mining Sector Kazakhstan is planning to develop its cryptocurrency mining sector to promote economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With 13 cryptocurrency mining farms already running around the country, 4 more are still under construction. According to the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace, Bagdat Musin, the development of this sector has the potential of attracting up to $1.2 billion in investments by 2025. Uzbekistan Introduces New Pay Scale for Cotton Pickers Uzbekistan established a new pay scale for cotton pickers to improve economic conditions in rural areas hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agriculture Ministry announced the increase in pay from $0.02-$0.08 for every kilogram of cotton picked in 2019 to $0.10-$0.40. This decision follows several government initiatives to reform the cotton industry, including the cancellation of cotton production quotas. Kazakhstan and China Discuss Further Cooperation in Transport, Health, and Digital Economy During a September 12 meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstani president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed prospects to increase bilateral cooperation in the fields of transport, health, and digital economy. The two sides paid particular attention to China's Belt and Road projects, future Silk Road of the Health initiative, as well as the Digital Silk Road programs. Turkmenistan and Japan Plan to Strengthen Partnership in Trade and Economy During a telephone conversation between Turkmenistan’s president Gurbaguly Berdimukhamedov and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the two sides expressed interest in increasing bilateral cooperation in trade and economic development. Reportedly, Japan is also planning to increase its presence in Turkmenistan and invest in oil and gas projects in the country. Unified Commodity Distribution System is Proposed at the CIS Economic Forum During a September 9 CIS Economic Forum, Bakhyt Sultanov, Kazakhstan’s minister of trade and integration, has proposed to introduce a unified distribution system among the CIS countries to allow for a more effective and timely exchange of information on production volumes, cost, and quality. He also focused on the digitalization of trade and called for an update of legal rules and regulations to facilitate e-commerce development. Prospects for regional cooperation and partnership in transport were also discussed. Georgia Extends Ban on International Flights Until October 31 Georgia extended its ban on international flights, imposed on March 21 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, until October 31. This extension does not apply to flights already approved to resume from Munich, Paris, and Riga.

Security and Politics

Tajikistan and Afghanistan Conclude Meeting on Security Cooperation The State Committee for National Security made an official visit to Afghanistan on September 9-11. Discussions of improvements for the existing security situation, border protection, fight against international terrorism, and fight against drug trafficking were among the topics discussed at the ministerial level. The current situation, in which the war in Afghanistan is rapidly decelerating, was also taken into account. Tajikistan to Host Conference on Tajik-Uzbek Strategic Partnership Tajikistan’s National Academy of Sciences partnered with the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan to produce an event on strategic partnerships to be held on September 14-15. The conference consists of sessions on topics such as politics and security, trade and economic relations, investment cooperation, and expansion of cultural, scientific, and educational contacts. Distance Learning Launched in Uzbekistan Virtual classes launched nationwide for students in Uzbekistan starting on September 14. Online lessons will be broadcast on three TV channels and can also be followed online through YouTube and Telegram. The lessons were produced by the Ministry of Public Education and involved 117 teachers, 12 sign language experts, and 15 editors. The courses are available for students from grade 1-11. (Sources: Agenda.ge, Asia-Plus, Astana Times, Azernews, Caspian News, Eurasianet, RFE/RL, Trend News Agency, and UZ Daily.)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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