Media Highlights of the Week
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Oct 15, 2020
Energy and Economy
Uzbekneftegaz Completes $4.3 Billion Worth of New Facilities Construction
The State Investment Program of Uzbekistan reported that from January-September 2020 construction work was performed on eleven Uzbekneftegaz projects. Five production facilities worth $4.3 billion are scheduled to become operational this year. The construction of a propane-butane mixture production unit, estimated to produce an additional 80,000 tons of liquified natural gas, is expected to be completed in November.
Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates Sign Investment Agreement
Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Askar Mamin met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi as part of his official visit to the UAE. They discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and economy, transport, logistics, agriculture, construction, and other areas. Kazakhstan and the UAE signed agreements for investment projects valued at $6.1 billion.
Azerbaijan and Japan Discuss Improving Bilateral Economic Relations
Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov and Japanese Ambassador Junichi Wada met to discuss the potential for expanding economic relations between the two countries in the mining, agriculture, logistics, transportation, tourism, and digital economy spheres. The two officials discussed expanding the existing legal framework and establishing new joint ventures.
Uzbekistan Discusses Economic Cooperation with Russia
On October 12, the twenty-first session of the Uzbek-Russian Intergovernmental Commission was held in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The meeting was chaired by Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade and Russia’s Minister of Economic Development. Trade between Uzbekistan and Russia has increased by 58% during the past 3 years, and the two parties discussed further cooperation in the agricultural, energy, transport, financial, and industrial sectors.
Kazakhstan Plans to Attract $11.6 billion in Agriculture Investments By 2025
During an October 6 government meeting, Kazakh Agriculture Minister Saparkhan Omarov announced that Kazakhstan is planning to draw approximately five trillion tenge ($11.6 billion) of investments into its agribusiness sector to meet the country's domestic demand and ensure its food security. Potential investments will also go into the construction of new plants for processing poultry meat, sausage products, cheese, apples, fish, and curd.
Central Bank of Azerbaijan Launches Digital Identification System
The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA), in coordination with IBM, has launched a digital identification system within its bank. The new technology will allow individuals and corporations to open bank accounts and receive payment cards remotely without needing to provide the required information on paper. Officials hope that the new program will increase business activity.
Uzbekistan and China Discuss Prospects for Cooperation in E-commerce
During an online Business Forum “Shanghai-Tashkent: Prospects of Electronic Commerce” on October 13, representatives from Uzbekistan and China have discussed the growing importance of the digital economy and ways to promote its development between the two countries. The two sides also identified existing barriers in e-commerce and explored possible solutions.
Security and Politics
Lawmakers Vote to Appoint Japarov as Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
Lawmakers voted to appoint Sadyr Japarov as Prime Minister. While President Jeenbekov approved the vote, Japarov said that he would push Jeenbekov to keep his promise to resign. Japarov also proposed new members of cabinet.
Tajikistan Re-elects President Rahmon for Another Term
Tajikistan’s electoral commission announced that President Emomali Rahmon won the recent presidential elections with a reported 90 percent share of all votes. Voter turnout is estimated at approximately 85 percent. The OSCE independently monitored the vote and does not recognize the election as democratic.
Fragile Ceasefire Leads to Further Civilian Casualties in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
As a result of negotiations between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, a humanitarian ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan was scheduled to begin on October 10. Within minutes of taking effect, both countries accused each other of ceasefire violations. A missile attack on Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second largest city, killed ten people and wounded dozens of others.
Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Denies Reports of Military Shipments
Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lasha Darsalia denied reports that military shipments destined for Azerbaijan and Armenia are being carried out via civilian flights through Georgia. Darsalia reaffirmed that with the outbreak of conflict, Georgia suspended the transit of all military cargo by land and by air. All flights operating in Georgian airspace must be humanitarian or civilian in nature and fully comply with ICAO standards.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, Astana Times, Azernews, Eurasianet, Georgia Today, Times of Central Asia, Trend News Agency, RFE/RL, UZ Daily)