In December 2018, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced 2019 as the year of active investment and social development. Since he was elected in 2017, President Mirziyoyev worked on a strategy that limits the government role in the economy to the benefit of the private sector to boost investments. The goal has been set to grow the economy and attain social development through the participation of all Uzbeks. In his annual speech before the parliament in 2018, President Mirziyoyev said “If a person changes, the country changes too,” in reference to the needed transformational change in the way people think and work to achieve prosperity.
As he served as the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan for 13 years, from 2003 to 2016, President Mirziyoyev accumulates extensive experience in public service and international diplomacy which he has been utilising as president to lead the country towards a brighter future. In the first year after his election, more than 2,600 business projects have been implemented at places within the framework of “Every Family is an Entrepreneur” and “Youth is our Future” programmes, while 416 villages acquired a new look as a result of “Prosperous Village” and “Prosperous Neighbourhood” programmes. In 2018 alone, 76 thousand projects worth UZS 21 trillion were implemented.
Moving forward, Uzbekistan aims to attract more investors from different parts of the world. Considering social diversity and rich cultural heritage, the government is trying to balance the distribution of investments across all of Uzbekistan’s regions. Each region has appointed representative responsible for attracting investment and overseeing the implementation of various investment projects, in a process that is strictly monitored by the presidential administration. To advance transparency and accountability of businesses, the government promised to fight against the “hidden” economy with the help of increased use of banks for business transactions and digitalisation of services to ease tracking and record-keeping.
Tashkent International Investment Forum on 5 and 6 March 2020 is designed to create a business and investment platform where local and foreign businesses can meet to discuss possible ways of cooperation. In addition, several governmental meetings are planned to take place to share ad exchange updates on policy updates and bilateral trade opportunities between Uzbekistan and regional as well as international partners. The main objective of the forum is to create a healthy environment for business growth and economic diversification. The programme of the forum includes leadership conversations, roundtable talks, and interactive panels in addition to a special address by President Mirziyoyev.
The forum will discuss topics related to the development of major industrial and services sectors in Uzbekistan. It also aims to strengthen the country’s regional and international relationships. For example, one of the roundtable talks will deliberate the topic “Capitalising on Central Asia’s Shifting Trade Flows” while others investigate strategies for building skills to drive economic expansion, preparing Uzbekistan as a regional industrial production hub. Other programmes allow entrepreneurs and investors to explore Uzbekistan’s great potential in industries such as tourism, agriculture, banking and finance, transport and logistics, oil and gas as well as power generation.