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Tajikistan: Independent news agency facing 'apparently targeted disruption'

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Tajik authorities to investigate the "apparently targeted disruption" of the embattled independent news agency Asia-Plus's websites and to help ensure they are accessible, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

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Kazakhstan: ADB-supported irrigation project to improve agricultural productivity

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $249.8 million equivalent loan in local currency (tenge) to the Republican State Enterprise Kazvodkhoz (KVK), a state-owned enterprise dealing with water facilities, to help in the rehabilitation and improvement of irrigation networks serving 171,000 hectares of land in four provinces in Kazakhstan, the Bank said on September 11.

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Kazakhstan: UAE-based company to invest in 1000-hectare orchards in Almaty region

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Phoenix Global DMCС, a transnational company based in Dubai (UAE), will invest in the project for orchards development with a total area of 1,000 hectares in Kazakhstan’s Almaty region. Phoenix Global and Kazakh Invest national investment promotion company have signed a relevant agreement within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission in Dubai (UAE), Kazakh Invest reported.

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Uzbekistan aims to process its entire cotton domestically by 2025

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan plans to bring the volume of textile exports to US $2 billion this year, Ilhom Haydarov, the chairman of the Uzbek Textile Industry Association, said before the opening of the Global Textile Days in Tashkent 2019 forum held in the capital of Uzbekistan on September 9-13, Xinhua reported.

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Foreigners allowed to buy Uzbekistan banks' shares without central bank consent

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Foreign investors in Uzbekistan now have the right to buy up to five percent of the shares in Uzbek commercial banks without prior consent of the country's central bank, Xinhua news agency reported with reference to the Uzbek Justice Ministry.

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Kazakhstan: Government adopts National Plan for implementation of president’s address

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — At the Government session on September 10 chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, a draft National Plan of measures for the implementation of the President's Address of Sep. 2, 2019 “Constructive Public Dialogue – the Basis of Stability and Prosperity of Kazakhstan” was adopted, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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Kazakhstan to open ‘The Great Steppe: history and culture” exhibition in Turkey

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The National Museum of Kazakhstan on September 12 opens the exhibition "The Great Steppe: history and culture" in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The exhibition will be held from September 12 to October 12, 2019 as part of the international project “The Procession of the Altyn Adam through the world museums,” the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan said.

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Turkmenistan to produce computers together with China

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — At the session of the Turkmen Cabinet of Ministers on September 6, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signed the Law on Cyber Security, which, among others, defines the processes of digitization in Turkmenistan, the state information agency TDH reported.

In this context, a totally new branch for the country — the computer production — is very important for establishment of ‘digital’ Turkmenistan and supply of the national economy with domestic information technologies.

The development of the domestic computer industry started with the opening of Agzybirlik Tilismaty company, which was founded by the Centre of Computer Technologies of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan together with Chinese Hengsheng Lianhua Investment Management Co. Ltd. and Tongfang Hongkong Limited for production of computers in Turkmenistan.

This year, Agzybirlik Tilismaty made 80,000 children learning computers according to the Resolution of President Berdymukhamedov. The computers were presented to the first grade school students of the country on behalf of the Leader of the Nation. The software of the computers is able to perform 198 various educational functions and has three languages – Turkmen, Russian and English.

Agzybirlik Tilismaty now works on manufacturing of test samples of notebooks, tablets, personal computers, and servers. The first batch of personal computers under its own brand name is to be produced by the end of this year.

Annual production output of the facility is planned to reach 500,000 computers.

It is planned that computers under Turkmen brand name will be supplied to neighboring countries as Agzybirlik Tilismaty is the only plant in Central Asia for production of computer equipment.

The joint venture also works closely with Microsoft, the largest transnational company for software development, and the Intel, the leading producer of electronic devices and computer components. They have already given their recommendation to their clients in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan for procurement of computers from Turkmenistan.

Kazakhstan plans to toughen import regulations

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan cannot import products that are worse in quality and more expensive than foreign analogues, Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov said at a press conference in the Government on September 9, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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Tajikistan launches second unit of giant Rogun hydropower plant

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon has officially launched the second unit of the Rogun hydropower plant.

Speaking at the ceremony on September 9, Rahmon congratulated all citizens of the country on this historic event, the president’s press service said.

The president said that the power plant is being built in accordance with the international norms and safety standards, using the latest technologies, and in the near future will serve not only the residents of Tajikistan but also other countries of the region.

The construction of hydroelectric power stations on the rivers of Tajikistan will help to ensure a balance between electricity and water consumption, and will ensure sustainable water management and reduce electricity shortages in the region, Rahmon said.

When the second unit was commissioned, the electricity generated was transmitted to the general power grid of the country.

Construction of the Rogun dam and hydropower plant was started on October 29, 2016.

On November 16, 2018 President Rahmon inaugurated the first unit of Rogun.

Rogun will be the largest hydropower plant in the region with a capacity of 3,600 megawatts (over 17 billion kWh).

At present, a total of 200 million cubic meter of water is stored in Rogun’s reservoir.

Located in the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River in the Pamir Mountains, Rogun is about 90 km from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.

The project was first launched in the late 1970s but halted after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

Now, the construction of this $3.9-billion project is being carried out by an Italian company, Salini Impregilo.

Uzbekistan creates Nukus free economic zone in Karakalpakstan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev last week signed a decree on measures to create the Nukus Free Economic Zone (FEZ) to attract foreign investment to the country’s northwestern region of Karakalpakstan, Xinhua news agency reported with reference to the Uzbek Justice Ministry.

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Uzbekistan outlines agricultural development strategy

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TASHKENT (TCA) — President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on September 6 held a government meeting to discuss priority tasks of the country’s agricultural development in 2020-2030, the president’s official website reported.

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Afghanistan: US cancels peace talks with Taliban

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KABUL (TCA) — The United States has recalled its chief envoy involved in Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled a secret meeting that was to include leaders of the militant group that carried out a recent car bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier, RFE/RL reported.

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Weekly Digest of Central Asia

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.

KAZAKHSTAN

How Many Humps on a Camel? In Kazakhstan, It’s Complicated

To diversify its economy away from oil, the Kazakh government has been financing herders who crossbreed one-humped and two-humped camels

Sep 1 — “In most of the world, camels come in two types: two-humped Bactrian and one-humped dromedary. But nothing is so simple out in the desert of Kazakhstan, where the camels roaming about, munching shrubs, come in a dizzying array of back shapes — most of them some version of one-and-a-half-humped. This is no accidental, naturally occurring oddity.” READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/01/world/europe/how-many-humps-on-a-camel-in-kazakhstan-its-complicated.html

Kazakhstan’s new president vows to pursue controlled democratisation

The new president of Kazakhstan presented his vision of the country’s development

Sep 3 — “Kazakhstan’s new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, delivered on Monday (2 September) his first major speech following his election last June, defining his policies in all fields of the economy and society. Kazakhstan is a country rich in resources, with a relatively small population and a huge territory, and keen to attract foreign investment. The EU as a whole is the number one investor in Kazakhstan. Tokayev won the 9 June poll with 70% of the votes, in elections disputed by seven candidates – a novelty in terms of pluralism for the former Soviet republic.” READ MORE: https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/news/kazakhstans-new-president-vows-to-pursue-controlled-democratisation/

‘Our Government Doesn’t Want to Spoil Relations with China’

The arrest of a Kazakh activist who advocated for Muslims ensnared in Beijing’s camps is part of a wider effort by China to shape the narrative on its internment system

Sep 3 — “In early March, Serikzhan Bilash, a Kazakh activist documenting and advocating for Muslims caught up in an immense internment-camp system in China, was taken from his hotel room by security services and arrested. Late on August 16, after being under house arrest for five months, he was unexpectedly freed.” READ MORE: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/09/china-xinjiang-uighur-kazakhstan/597106/

The Hijab Debate Intensifies As School Starts In Kazakhstan

Kazakh laws do not explicitly ban the hijab in school, but an Education Ministry decree on student uniforms prohibits the wearing of religious symbols at school

Sep 5 — “The Kazakh Education Ministry doesn't allow girls to wear a hijab in school, but many parents in the country's increasingly conservative northwest believe such a ban violates the country's constitution and hampers girls' education. Gulzhan Sabenova, a resident of Aqtobe, says the ban has prompted her daughter to end her education at the provincial capital's school N23. Instead, the teenager has opted for distance learning at an online school based in Moscow.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/the-hijab-debate-intensifies-as-school-starts-in-kazakhstan/30148088.html

KYRGYZSTAN

Where does Kyrgyzstan go now?

Stability in Kyrgyzstan is greatly affected by confrontation of internal elites and clans aggravated by ethnic tensions and socio-economic deficiencies

Sep 5 — “The conflict between former Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev and the ruling authorities culminated in an armed confrontation in August when law enforcement units tried to take Atambayev by force at his heavily guarded country residence. The ex-president surrendered after two unsuccessful special forces attempts that resulted in several servicemen being detained by Atambayev supporters, the death of a commanding officer and 85 people wounded.” READ MORE: https://www.dailysabah.com/op-ed/2019/09/05/where-does-kyrgyzstan-go-now

Kyrgyzstan: Top cop goes from hero to zero amid suspicions of set-up

The officer who negotiated the end to a bloody standoff with Kyrgyzstan’s former president is now being held for abuse of office

Sep 5 — “One week is all it took for one high-ranking police officer in Kyrgyzstan to go from national hero to criminal suspect. On August 8, video footage quickly circulated showing 53-year-old Kursan Asanov negotiating an end to the bloody siege of former president Almazbek Atambayev’s country redoubt. Talking through serried bars blocking the way to an upstairs safe room, Asanov, who was then deputy head of the Interior Ministry, pleaded with his ex-boss to give himself up.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstan-top-cop-goes-from-hero-to-zero-amid-suspicions-of-set-up

Former Kyrgyz President’s Arrest: A Litmus Test for Succession Politics

Although the Atambayev chapter in modern Kyrgyzstan history is far from closed, his transformation from head of state into incarcerated defendant is interesting in several respects

Sep 5 — “The month of August was unusually busy for Kyrgyzstan. In particular, the country’s domestic political scene devolved into a full-blown political crisis on August 8, with the arrest of former president Almazbek Atambayev at his family compound, in the northern village of Koy Tash. The day before, the Kyrgyzstani authorities had sent in special forces (Spetsnaz), whose use is normally reserved for anti-terrorist operations and raids on organized crime” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/former-kyrgyz-presidents-arrest-a-litmus-test-for-succession-politics/

TAJIKISTAN

Tajikistan Tells Its Youth How to Behave on the Internet

Users should refrain from reposting content related to extremism, terrorism, pornography, or other forms of bad behavior

Sep 2 — “The Tajik government has issued instructions on how the nation’s youth should behave when using the Internet, urging young people to be patriotic when posting content on social networks, to spell their names right, to use their real photos with no “extremist” facial expressions, and not to lie about their gender.” READ MORE: https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10597-tajikistan-tells-its-youth-how-to-behave-on-internet

Tajikistan: Imams do government's bidding – and building

Clerics in the northern Sughd region are building premises for Tajikistan’s ruling party

Sep 2 — “The constitution of Tajikistan speaks explicitly about the separation between religion and state. The authorities have long disregarded this principle, however, and Islamic clerics make little secret that they are an adjunct of the government. In a recent illustration of this intimate coexistence, clerics in a northern district recently pledged to turn their hand to erecting a local branch building of the president’s political party. Similar gestures of obeisance have become commonplace.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-imams-do-governments-bidding-and-building

Tajikistan: World Bank slams degradation of telecoms sector

The state telecommunications service has a monopoly on the provision of online data and runs the state telephony and internet services provider

Sep 4 — “The World Bank has in a new report bemoaned the state of Tajikistan’s telecommunications industry, describing a sector beset by overregulation, lack of competition and conflicts of interest. The report, which was published in late August and details the country’s economic prospects, notes that the Tajik telecoms industry was in blooming health in the 2000s, until it was squelched by the state communications regulator.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-world-bank-slams-degradation-of-telecoms-sector

TURKMENISTAN

Turkmen customs officers confiscate hard-to-find Coca-Cola imported from Iran from shuttle traders

Analogues of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite, such as Goşa Çynar, Kola Çynar, 7-Çynar are produced in Turkmenistan, but the demand for the original drinks remains quite high

Sep 2 — “Since 2017, when Turkmenistan’s entrepreneurs were confronted with problems related to currency conversion, the Coca-Cola bottling plant has occasionally ceased and resumed production. The disrupted production process was accompanied by fluctuations of prices for soft drinks. As of now the production of Turkmenistan-bottled Coca-Cola has been suspended although the demand for it is still high.” READ MORE: https://en.hronikatm.com/2019/09/turkmen-customs-officers-confiscate-hard-to-find-coca-cola-imported-from-iran-from-shuttle-traders/

Turkmenistan should promote the Trans-Caspian Pipeline more actively

Iran and Russia are opposing the implementation of the Trans-Caspian project, which is supported by Azerbaijan and is in the EU’s interest

Sep 3 — “The broader Caspian Basin – a region at the center of what has been called the “strategic energy ellipse” between Russia and the Persian Gulf – remains an important alternative source of oil and natural gas for European and Asian markets. It is estimated that the Caspian region contains 48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in proved and probable reserves. Hence, rich energy resources of the Caspian Sea attract the attention of many regional and non-regional states.” READ MORE: https://www.euractiv.com/section/azerbaijan/opinion/turkmenistan-should-promote-the-trans-caspian-pipeline-more-actively/

Turkmenistan: Kicking the Coke habit

In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week

Sep 3 — “Cotton-picking season is beckoning, and the message is more “white gold” and less grain. In four of Turkmenistan’s five provinces, picking will begin on September 11. One week later, the campaign will begin in Dashoguz. The target is to harvest around 1 million tons of cotton across 5,500 square kilometers (2,100 square miles) of land. Since the government owns all land in Turkmenistan, all the cruelty that this exercise involves – including forced labor, child labor and the arbitrary suspension of land leases to farmers unable to meet production quotas – is easily attributable to officials.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/turkmenistan-kicking-the-coke-habit

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan's New Security Powerhouse: The National Guard

The long-dormant National Guard of Uzbekistan has been reformed, and its powers are growing

Aug 31 — “For more than 25 years, Uzbekistan’s National Security Service (SNB) was the most feared law enforcement body in Uzbekistan. So when Shavkat Mirziyoev took over as president and soon moved to not only rein in the SNB but criticize and humiliate the security service for years of abuse, the people of Uzbekistan welcomed the SNB's relegation.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/the-national-guard-uzbekistan-s-new-security-powerhouse/30139322.html

What the recent weakening of the sum says about Uzbekistan’s economy

Uzbekistan’s currency has lost ground this year, but the depreciation is a sign of future economic health

Sep 3 — “Uzbekistan’s currency has had a tough year. Since January, the sum has fallen from 8340 to the dollar to 9374, a depreciation of 11 percent. The fall was especially precipitous in August, with the sum losing 7.5 percent against the greenback. But a weaker sum does not tell the entire story – or even paint a picture of Uzbekistan’s overall economic health.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/what-the-recent-weakening-of-the-sum-says-about-uzbekistans-economy

Uzbekistan banking on international investors

Uzbek banks will attract the first round of foreign investment when restrictions on owning their stock are lifted

Sep 4 — “Uzbekistan is opening up to the world and investors, if not investment, beating a path to this promising country with the stamp of the legendary Silk Road. The Uzbeks may be famous for their succulent fruit and veg, but the tastiest of the low-hanging fruit which investors are hungrily eying is seen in the banking sector. As with any post-Soviet economy, most of the biggest and richest companies belong to the government. But Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the reform-minded president who took the helm in late 2016, says he plans to sell off all the state-owned companies with a few strategic exceptions in the metal and energy sectors, as well as three-quarters of the banking sector.” READ MORE: https://intellinews.com/uzbekistan-banking-on-international-investors-167149/?source=uzbekistan

AFGHANISTAN

It's Time to Liberate Afghanistan

America faces historic defeat in Afghanistan. By not winning, it loses. The sooner America ends this shameful colonial war the better, says a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East

Sep 1 — “After 18 years of war in Afghanistan—America's longest—U.S. and Taliban negotiators are said to be close to an agreement that may see the withdrawal of many of the 14,000 U.S. soldiers in that remote nation. That's the official version. President Donald Trump keeps changing his mind about the number of U.S. troops to be withdrawn. The latest version from the White House has 5,000 U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan as a permanent garrison to guard the major air bases at Bagram and Kandahar and protect the U.S.-installed puppet Afghan government in Kabul.” READ MORE: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/01/its-time-liberate-afghanistan

The Afghanistan war is over, and Pakistan has won

The Taliban deal will bring an American exit from Afghanistan but not peace

Sep 4 — “The US war in Afghanistan is winding down, and Pakistan has won. The basic outline of the agreement negotiated by US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is nothing new: The United States withdraws its forces in exchange for a Taliban pledge not to associate with terrorism or allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe-haven for terror groups.” READ MORE: https://www.aei.org/publication/the-afghanistan-war-is-over-and-pakistan-has-won/

Draft U.S.-Taliban Deal 'Very Dangerous, Damaging' To Afghanistan, Ex-Envoys Say

Observers have cast doubt on whether the Taliban would or even could deliver on its promises

Sep 6 — “Three former U.S. envoys to Afghanistan warn that a draft U.S.-Taliban agreement on the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country is a mistake that could unleash a "more dangerous" civil war. "It is a very dangerous and damaging agreement," Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, said in an interview with RFE/RL on September 6.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-taliban-deal-very-dangerous-damaging-to-afghanistan-ex-envoys-say/30150717.html

WORLD

Decolonising and demystifying Central Asian literature through translation

One translator wants the region's literary riches to be seen as more than just 'exotic'

Sep 2 — “Shelley Fairweather-Vega is a Seattle-based translator of Uzbek and Kazakh literature, as well as a certified Russian to English translator. Her translations have been published in a number of leading English-language magazines, and three translations of books by Uzbek and Kazakh authors are coming out later this year. As Central Asian literature remains scarcely known outside the region, Shelley is not just a translator but also a cultural ambassador.” READ MORE: https://globalvoices.org/2019/09/02/decolonising-and-demystifying-central-asian-literature-through-translation/#

Hopes Reemerge for Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, but Critical Obstacles Persist

With critical obstacles—some of them purely economic and others geopolitical in nature—remaining in place, it is hard to imagine the Trans-Caspian Pipeline project going forward

Sep 4 — “On August 12, delegations led by the prime ministers of the five Caspian littoral states—Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan—came together at Turkmenistan’s coastal resort of Awaza to hold the first annual Caspian Economic Forum. The heads of government from two other countries, Uzbekistan and Bulgaria, both interested in the transport potential of the Caspian region, were also present at the event, along with representatives of many other states (at the ambassadorial or ministerial levels) and multinational corporations.” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/hopes-reemerge-for-trans-caspian-gas-pipeline-but-critical-obstacles-persist/

Go Viral festival will be held for the first time in Tajikistan

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — The U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan has announced that the annual Go Viral festival will be held for the first time in Dushanbe on September 14-15, at the Ismaili Center.

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EBRD Board Directors to visit Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — A delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Board of Directors will visit Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan from 8 to 14 September. The visit will help the Directors to assess the progress of reforms taking place in the two Central Asian states, familiarise themselves with the Bank’s investments and meet a range of stakeholders, the Bank said.

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Kazakhstan: Locals will get 95% of jobs created by joint projects with China — official

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Up to 20 thousand new jobs will be created as part of the implementation of joint projects with China in Kazakhstan, 95% of which will be occupied by Kazakhstanis. The remaining 5% are specialists from different countries, including Canada, China and other countries, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Zhenis Kassymbek said at a press conference in the Government on September 5, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

According to the deputy prime minister, of the proposed investment projects, priority is given to high-tech projects with a high Kazakhstan content and ensuring maximum job creation for citizens of Kazakhstan. Kassymbek emphasized that the joint Kazakh-Chinese projects are new and will be implemented in the next 5-6 years.

“There are claims that these plants, new projects are dirty, that these are old projects that are being transferred to Kazakhstan [from China]. I want to officially declare that there is not a single old plant transferred to Kazakhstan. All these projects are new,” said Kassymbek.

According to him, just recently, an alternative power plant (solar power) was opened in the Kapshagai region, where 30 people work — all are citizens of Kazakhstan.

“A completely new production is alternative energy. We will move towards it. In Kazakhstan, by the end of the year, 1,000 megawatts of wind and sun energy will be produced. I want to emphasize that these are new technologies, there are no ‘dirty’ enterprises or old enterprises that are transferred from one country to another. In general, we plan to create up to 20 thousand new jobs within these enterprises,” the deputy prime minister said.

He said that 15 Kazakhstan-Chinese projects have been implemented so far, and five more will be implemented before the end of the year.

“Over the past year, the share of Chinese investments has remained at the same level — 5-6% of the total. It has not changed,” he said, adding that projects are being implemented in areas such as engineering, industry, transport, agriculture, and energy.

Kassymbek also said that not a single plant that does not meet environmental requirements will be built in Kazakhstan.

This comes amid the rising anti-Chinese sentiment in Kazakhstan.

Earlier this week, protesters in the western city of Zhanaozen and several other Kazakh cities gathered to pressure President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev to cancel a planned trip to neighboring China over perceived corruption and mounting Chinese influence through financial assistance.

They demanded a stop to "Chinese expansion" through factories and other projects in oil-rich Kazakhstan.

Tokayev is scheduled to pay an official two-day visit to Beijing starting on September 11.

Kazakhstan attracted $330 billion of foreign investment since independence

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — During the period of Kazakhstan’s independence (since 1991), the country has attracted $330 billion of foreign investments from more than 120 countries, the Deputy Prime Minister Zhenis Kassymbek said at a press conference on September 5, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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Kazakhstan and Ukraine developing economic cooperation

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — “Ukraine–Kazakhstan, Central Asia” business forum took place in Nur-Sultan on September 5.

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EBRD offers new financing opportunities for Uzbekistan exporters and importers

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a boost to domestic importers and exporters in Uzbekistan by opening a limit of up to US$ 20 million under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) to Asaka bank, the EBRD said on September 5.

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France’s Orano to develop uranium mining projects in Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Major nuclear fuel cycle company Orano has signed a partnership agreement with the Uzbek State, represented by the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources (GoscomGeology) to develop mining exploration and operations activities in Uzbekistan, the French company said on September 4.

The two partners have decided to create a joint venture which will be established in few months, with 51% held by Orano and 49% held by GoscomGeology.

This agreement formalizes the desire of both parties to work together on uranium mining projects in Uzbekistan, in particular in the Navoi region in a desert area at the heart of the uranium-rich province of Kyzylkum.

The two partners plan to conduct borehole drilling works in the area to improve the classification of resources already identified by GoscomGeology and discover new uranium resources. The first works in the field are planned to commence in the first half of 2020.

"We are happy with and proud of this agreement which is part of the geographical diversification of the group's mining activities and consolidates its presence in Central Asia,” said Nicolas Maes, Senior Executive Vice President of Orano's Mining Business Unit. “It helps to strengthen relations within the framework of cooperation between France and Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has extensive experience in the mining of uranium deposits by ISR, and combined with Orano's experience, this gives this project the solid foundations expected to move into new territories and develop innovative solutions capable of improving our productivity and thus meet our customers' expectations."

Bobir Islamov, Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources said: "Uzbekistan is rich in mineral resources and has a developed mining industry. The country mines major deposits such as the Muruntau gold deposit, the Kalmakyr porphyry copper deposit, and the Uchkuduk uranium mines in the province of Kyzylkum. The partnership agreement we are signing with Orano is about consolidating our efforts and carrying out mutually beneficial projects in order to diversify our uranium industry and create new production capacities by combining the expertise and experience of both parties. We believe cooperating with a reliable partner such as Orano, which has vast expertise and experience as well as a stable place in the global uranium market, will contribute to the success of the projects carried out by the JV we are creating. The agreement signed today is a symbolic event and will, without doubt, contribute to the development of a good relationship and friendship between France and Uzbekistan."

Turkish company plans to produce leather products in Kazakhstan

  • Written by TCA

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Turkish company DESA plans to establish production of leather products in Kazakhstan. In line with the initiative, the Turkish investors arrived on a working trip to Kazakhstan, Kazakh Invest national investment promotion company reported on its website.

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Kazakhstan approves roadmap to promote non-oil exports

  • Written by TCA

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The government of Kazakhstan has approved the Roadmap for Promoting the Export of Non-Primary Goods and Services, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan said on September 4.

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Tajikistan joins initiative to improve health and nutrition of women and children

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Representatives from the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) met their Tajikistan counterparts in Dushanbe this week to mark the start of the country’s membership in the global initiative, the World Bank said on September 4.

A partnership of governments, multilateral and bilateral development institutions, technical partners, the private sector, and civil society organizations, GFF serves as a coordination platform for policy-makers around the world to tackle health and nutrition issues more effectively, not least by improving donor coordination and increasing the efficiency in the use of domestic and international resources. The GFF Trust Fund acts as a catalyst for additional financing and improved development effectiveness. Consequently, countries using modest GFF Trust Fund grants can significantly increase domestic resources and crowd in additional World Bank financing, aligned external financing, and/or private sector resources.

“We hope that by uniting efforts with the Global Financing Facility partnership, we will be able to reduce maternal and child mortality rates and support our overall health system reform agenda,” said Dr. Nasimkhuja Olimzoda, Minister of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan. “Tajikistan is the youngest and fastest growing country in the region of Europe and Central Asia, so programs supporting the well-being of women and children are of greatest priority for us.”

In May 2019, nine new countries, including Tajikistan, joined GFF, supported by the World Bank Group. This has brought the total number of GFF-supported countries to thirty-six. In this, Tajikistan is a pioneer: it is the first country in the Europe and Central Asia region to have joined the GFF.

“We are pleased to support the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan as it seeks to improve the health and nutrition of women, children, and adolescents,” said Jakub Kakietek, GFF Focal Point for Tajikistan. “The Government’s leadership in investing in health and nutrition will save lives and, in so doing support the country’s economic growth potential for years to come.”

Kazakhstan: People protest Chinese influence for third day

  • Written by TCA

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (TCA) — Protesters in Kazakhstan have gathered for a third day to pressure President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev to cancel a planned trip to neighboring China over perceived corruption and mounting Chinese influence through financial assistance to the Central Asian country, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

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