Leader of Central Asia’s most populous nation, president Shavkat Mirziyoyev has been in charge for six years now, following the death of Islam Karimov, and continues to open and reform the Uzbek economy. One of the faster growing economies in the region, a recent development in PPP law accommodated the interests of foreign investors, and there is also an ambitious plan to increase the share of renewable energy to 30% by 2030, for example.
Given the track record of close ties between Uzbekistan and Russia, the war in Ukraine has been impactful. Western sanctions have created concern for the country’s external sector, which is noted for commodities such as gold, cotton and natural gas. The invasion has however created a large flow of investors in addition to business relocations, resulting in more legal work. Uzbekistan also has close trade ties with China, which despite the practical challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdowns, has been investing in the country. Despite concern among its main trading partners, Uzbekistan’s economic outlook remains positive. Uzbekistan’s WTO accession talks also continue, and the new government has repudiated prior practices of forced labour in the cotton industry meaning the end of effective boycotts of the crop.