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Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – From March 19 to March 25, 2022

Central Asia Watch Team : Aliya Yechshanova and Denis Lavaud

03/20/2022: Accident in a power-plant in Kazakhstan. – Denis Lavaud

An accident occurred on march 20 in the power-plant of Petropavlovsk, north of Kazakhstan. During the accident, a smokestack collapsed, causing the debris to fall into the boiler room. The accident left residential homes and government buildings in the surrounding region without electricity and heating during the night, and resulted in the death of an employee. This accident is the second one to occur in a few months in the country. The decrepitude  of the plant built more than fifty years ago seems to be the main cause of these accidents.

The president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared that he would like to replace up to 15% of the country’s nuclear energy consumption before 2030 by renewable energy, which only represents five percent of the global country’s energy consumption so far.

03/21/2022: Foreign businessmen are actively buying Turkmen oil products. – Aliya Yechshanova –

on March 21, according to the results of the last trading week at the State Commodity Exchange, the Turkmen treasury received revenue of over $219 million 229 thousand for the sale of goods produced at the country’s enterprises to foreign businessmen. In general, the products of the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries are in great demand. This is reported by the state news agency “Turkmenistan: the Golden Age”. Hydrotreated diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation and lighting kerosene produced by the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries were purchased by the business circles of the Kingdom of Great Britain, Afghanistan, Turkey, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. Carbamide and gasoline of the EKO brand (Türkmenhimiýa) were purchased by the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Afghanistan. Smooth-dyed and jacquard terry products, cotton yarn were purchased for currency and manats by brokers from the UAE, Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. Handmade carpets, total petroleum coke and polypropylene, have become items of purchase for local businessmen. Over the past week, a total of 86 transactions were made, in addition to foreign exchange earnings, more than 25 million 294 thousand manats were transferred to the state treasury.

03/21/2022: Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia decide to step up efforts in the field of investment. – Aliya Yechshanova – 

For the first time in the history of Kyrgyz-Saudi relations, on march 21, the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, arrived in Bishkek on a working visit. Within the framework of the negotiations held with the top officials of the country, the issues of investment partnership were discussed. During the meeting with the leader of the republic Sadyr Zhaparov, the Prince expressed readiness to increase efforts in the field of investment cooperation. The head of state adhered to a similar position. This year, representatives of the National Investment Agency under the President of Kyrgyzstan will visit Saudi Arabia to discuss prospects for cooperation in investment, trade and economic spheres. The Arab diplomat stressed that the kingdom is considering the possibility of importing environmentally friendly products from Kyrgyzstan. In addition, Riyadh is ready to expand its partnership with Bishkek in the agricultural and tourism sectors. On the same day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia held talks with Prime Minister Akylbek Zhaparov and his counterpart from Kyrgyzstan Ruslan Kazakbayev.

03/24/2022: Kyrgyzstan plans to start construction of the hydroelectric station of Kambar-Atina GES-1 this year. – Aliya Yechshanova –

This year, the Kyrgyz authorities intend to start the first phase of construction of the Kambar-Atina GES-1 on river Naryn. Head of the Cabinet of Ministers Akylbek Zhaparov made such a statement at the government meeting on March 24. According to a high-ranking official, the authorities plan to put the power facility into operation within three to five years. The first phase of the construction is estimated at almost 500 million dollars. The Ministry of Finance of Kyrgyzstan will allocate funds for its implementation. This year’s budget already includes 20 million dollars for preparatory work. Akylbek Zhaparov stated that the launch of this station will allow it to make full use of the capabilities of the Kambar-Atin GES-2, built in 1986. Their total installed and running capacity will be 1,000 megawatts. He added that when converted into useful kilowatt-hours, this amount would be approximately 4 billion. About the same quantity is produced by the Toktogul hydroelectric plant today. The Prime Minister also noted that in parallel in 2022 in the republic began the construction of 30 small hydroelectric power stations, one wind and three solar power plants. The Kyrgyz authorities would achieve the country’s energy independence within the next five years. 

03/24/2022: Uzbekistan to adopt a new program of reforms. – Denis Lavaud –

During the first Tashkent International Investment Forum that occured on march 24, president Shavkat Mirziyoyev declared his wish to adopt new reforms covering «all spheres of life».

«Uzbekistan is located in the center of the Central Asian region, which connects North and South, West and East with main transit corridors due to its geographical location. […] While adopting a strategy of action, we chose the path of large-scale democratic reforms five years ago» declared Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev also added that the reforms’ program was covering a broad spectrum going from the application of the State of Law to the development of the commercial competition, while battling corruption. The president insisted on the importance of setting up a favorable atmosphere for entrepreneurship, thanks to the removal of the obstacles preventing the foreign investors  from entering the Uzbek market. «We introduced free conversion of the national currency – the sum and removed all restrictions on the repatriation of foreign investors’ profit in 2017 […] We have introduced a visa-free regime for citizens of 90 foreign countries when entering Uzbekistan to ensure a policy of openness» declared president Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

03/25/2022: Launching of a new touristic train line between Almaty and Tashkent. – Denis Lavaud –

On march 25, the uzbek railway company declared during a press conference the implementation of a touristic train line between the uzbek capital and Almaty in Kazakhstan, going back and forth three times a week starting on may 2.

This decision is following  the decision to set up a bus line between the two cities a year after the global pandemic of coronavirus. The buses will do the liaison between Tashkent and Kazakhstan’s capital Nursultan, but also Almaty, Kyzylorda, Turkestan and Irgeli.

03/25/2022: The Asian Cycling Championship has started in Tajikistan. – Aliya Yechshanova –

On march 25 and for the first time ine the country ,the Asian Cycling Championship has been held in the Central Asian Republic. The event is hosted by the capital of the country — the city of Dushanbe. Among the participants are young people, adult cyclists and athletes with disabilities.  Today there will be two team races at a distance of 24 kilometers, two individual races of men and women with disabilities at a distance of 24 and 15 kilometers. On the last day of the championship will be organized general individual competitions among men, amateurs and masters of cycling (111 km). The sporting event will be attended by 428 representatives from 27 countries.

The Asian Cycling Championship is an annual continental cycling competition held from 1963 to 2016 by the Asian Cycling Confederation. It included both road and track races. Since 2017, road and track disciplines competitions have been divided into two separate championships. 

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