Media Highlights of The Week
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Nov 10, 2020
Energy and Economy
Turkish Manufacture Will Build Mask Plant in Nur-Sultan
Turkish respiratory mask manufacturer MFA Mask will build a $9.3 billion plant in the New City Special Economic Zone of Nur-Sultan. The company will source the raw materials from Turkey and use Turkish and German technologies to produce the masks. The plan is due to be ready to begin production by 2024 and will have the capacity to produce 10 million masks per year.
Romanian Port Operator UMEX Discusses Possible Turkmenbashi Development
Romanian Port Operator UMEX is discussing expanding operations to the Caspian Sea region with an emphasis on Turkmenistan. UMEX has an existing infrastructure for the shipment of project cargo, which it indicates is necessary for further development of the energy and chemical industries in Turkmenistan. The company also noted its ability to help in transporting urea, used in fertilizers, between Turkmenbashi and Baku.
Uzbekistan Advances Digital Economy Ambitions
Uzbekistan opened a new digital technologies training center in the Samarkand Region to increase the number of available technology specialists. The training center aims to improve computer literacy for children and young adults. Furthermore, Uzbektelecom slashed internet prices for operators and providers. These actions are part of a larger framework to expand digital access across the country.
Kyrgyz Acting President and PM Japarov Promises to End Restrictions on Electricity Consumption
Acting President and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov promised residents in the Naryn region that all restrictions on electricity consumption would be lifted in spring 2021 after listening to complaints about frequent power outages.
Kazakhstan Plans to Develop its Organic Agriculture
Kazakhstan plans to tap into its vast potential for organic agriculture development, according to Kazakhstani Minister of Agriculture Saparkhan Omarov. The minister said that Kazakhstan will focus on improving product quality and expanding its trade networks to increase market access. Kazakhstan is currently the ninth-largest supplier of organic agricultural goods to the European Union.
Azerbaijan Reports Stable Economic Rating
Despite low oil prices and the extended economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Azerbaijan has maintained an economic rating of BB+, as reported by rating agency RAEX Europe. According to the rating agency, the revenues of SOFAZ, the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, are sufficient to maintain financial stability. Additionally, the level of foreign reserves in the Central Bank was considered healthy.
Georgian Authorities Cancel Flights Across Multiple Carriers
The Georgian Civic Aviation Agency has canceled and postponed numerous flights as a result of the changing situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Flights between Kutaisi and Riga, Dortmund, and Vilnius on Wizz Air have been suspended as a result of new restrictions imposed by Latvia, Germany, and Lithuania. AirBaltic has also canceled flights for the rest of November, with the exception of repatriation flights for Georgian nationals. Georgian Airways will still offer limited flights, with weekly options between Tbilisi and Berlin as well as Tbilisi and Vienna.
Georgian Ski Resort to Host First Stage of the World Ski Cross
The Georgian ski resort of Bakuriani will host the first stage of the World Ski Cross in February 2021. An agreement was signed between the International Ski Federation and the Georgian Ski Federation for the event. Bakuriani is also making preparations to host the 2023 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships. These preparations include adding three new ski lifts, with a capacity of 7,200 passengers per hour.
Security and Politics
Uzbekistan Hosts Conference on Military Universities
The Academy of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan held an online conference in cooperation with the OSCE on November 4-5, discussing modern military conflicts. Attendees of the conference included representatives from NATO, the Red Cross, experts from the George Marshall European Center for Security Studies, as well as from educational institutions from the United States, Russia, China, Korea, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Special focus was dedicated to hybrid warfare, including information warfare. Formation of joint plans was suggested for 2021.
Georgian Opposition Parties Lead Rallies in Demand for Repeat Elections
Leaders of Georgian opposition parties gathered in front of Georgia’s parliament building to demand a repeat of the recent parliamentary elections. The opposition parties claim that the Central Election Commission falsified results in favor of the Georgian Dream, the ruling party. Leaders of opposition parties and protesters have demanded repeat elections, the dismissal of the Central Election Commission chair, and the release of political prisoners.
Azerbaijan Regains Control of the City of Shusha
After several weeks of intense warfare, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that Azerbaijani forces regained control over Shusha. Shusha is widely considered one of the most culturally significant sites in Azerbaijan and was under the control of Armenian forces for nearly 30 years. Armenian officials reject statements that Azerbaijani forces are in control of the city.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, AKI Press, AsiaPlus TJ, Astana Times, Georgia Today, Oxu.az, Report. Trend News Agency, UZ daily, and 24.kg.)