Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s leadership has fundamentally transformed Uzbekistan, propelling the Central Asian nation of 36 million people into a prominent global role. The country has undergone a significant shift, expanding its international trade outreach and actively courting tourists and foreign investments. Just a decade ago, Uzbekistan was a closed authoritarian regime with considerable barriers for foreign investors and a distressing reliance on forced labor, particularly in the cotton industry.
Mirziyoyev’s Vision: Pioneering Change
Born into a family of medical professionals in 1957, Shavkat Mirziyoyev‘s diverse career—from academia to various administrative positions—laid the foundation for his comprehensive understanding of Uzbekistan’s economic and societal challenges. Ascending to the presidency in 2016, Mirziyoyev initiated sweeping reforms, liberating political detainees, making the national currency convertible, simplifying bureaucratic hurdles for businesses, and strengthening international ties.
Economic Overhaul through Foreign Investment
Following Uzbekistan’s separation from the USSR in 1991, the nation inherited a Soviet-era economic structure characterized by outdated industries and a fledgling consumer goods sector. This structural deficiency, compounded by rapid population growth and inadequate employment opportunities, drove many citizens to seek work abroad. Mirziyoyev’s strategy centered on invigorating the economy through foreign investments and privatizing state-owned assets, with Germany emerging as a pivotal European partner. Over the past two years, German investments exceeding $2.5 billion have flowed into Uzbekistan, with approximately 200 German-affiliated companies operating within the nation’s borders.
Expanding International Trade: A Catalyst for Growth
Uzbekistan, a key exporter of cotton, uranium, gold, fruits, and vegetables, previously monopolized the production and export of many commodities. Under Mirziyoyev’s leadership, the globally condemned practice of coerced cotton harvesting was abolished, giving precedence to private and foreign investments in cotton processing and textile industries. Germany stands as Uzbekistan’s primary European trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $1.2 billion last year, largely driven by German exports of industrial equipment and Uzbek imports of agricultural produce, textiles, and apparel.
Embracing Green Energy Initiatives
With the aim of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and modernizing the economy, Mirziyoyev has set a target of elevating the share of renewable energy to 40% of Uzbekistan’s energy mix by 2030. The country actively collaborates with Europe, China, and the Middle East to inaugurate new solar and wind power facilities. Taking cues from Germany, Uzbekistan now conducts competitive bids for projects aimed at undercutting prevailing electricity rates. Furthermore, households installing solar panels receive state subsidies, marking a significant stride towards green energy adoption.
Future Trajectory for Uzbekistan
Mirziyoyev recently endorsed Uzbekistan’s 2030 Development Strategy, a collaborative initiative involving various ministries, parliamentarians, and experts aimed at doubling GDP, boosting exports, enhancing education, healthcare, and elevating citizens’ incomes above the global average. Uzbekistan aims to attract $110 billion in foreign investments to realize these objectives, with Germany poised to be a reliable ally in achieving these ambitions.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visionary leadership has propelled Uzbekistan into an era of openness, economic diversification, and heightened global competitiveness, promising a bright and prosperous future for the nation and its people.