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Uzbekistan says it wants foreign investment

NOV. 6 2015 (The Conway Bulletin) – Uzbekistan’s government said it wanted foreign investors to buy stakes in state-owned enterprises, part of a privatisation plan it said was designed to bring expertise into some of its biggest companies.

Deputy PM Rustam Azimov made the statement at an investment forum in Tashkent.

“[The plan is] to attract strategic investors who are able to bring new technology and equipment (and) organise the production of modern and competitive products,” Reuters quoted Mr Azimov as saying.

He cherry-picked three companies, seemingly as a teaser to pique foreign investor interest. These were cement maker Kizilkumcement, chemical producer Ferganaazot and electronics plant Foton.

For foreign investors, though, Uzbekistan has always been a complicated to do business in. It holds a high level of natural resources, mainly gold, gas and cotton, but is riddled through with corruption and intrigue. Western companies have previously had their assets taken by the Uzbek state too.

It remains to be seen if Uzbekistan is serious about opening up to foreign investors — and also whether these investors are Western, Korean, Chinese, Russia or from elsewhere.

The Uzbek government does need to raise funds though to deal with the current economic malaise.


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(News report from Issue No. 256, published on Nov. 13 2015)