• KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01134 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09234 0.22%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Our People > Times of Central Asia

Times of Central Asia's Avatar

Askar Alimzhanov

Senior Editor

Askar Alimzhanov graduated from the journalism department of the Kazakh State University named after S. Kirov, then worked as a correspondent for the daily republican newspaper Leninskaya Smen. He then moved to the United States to be a reporter for the daily newspaper "Cape Cod Times" in Hayanis, Massachusetts, (USA) under the journalist exchange program between the Union of Journalists of the USSR and the New England Society of News Editors. Since then, he has helped build transparency and understanding of Central Asia region in various executive level positions at esteemed media organizations including "Akbar"(Alma-Ata) international center for journalism, the Khabar News agency, the Television and Radio Corporation "Kazakhstan" JSC, and MIR- Kazakhstan.

Articles

Bishkek Bets on Bikes and Buses

To alleviate congestion and traffic bottlenecks in the capital, the Bishkek Mayor's Office has green-lit a strategic plan for enhancing the city's road transport infrastructure over the 2024-2030 period. This initiative, as detailed on the municipal website, encompasses an ambitious range of projects. Highlights include the construction of bridges and new road junctions, the introduction of bike lanes within the road network, the consolidation of dedicated lanes into a coherent system, the expansion of parking facilities including an increase in bicycle parking spaces, and the establishment of transport hubs and park-and-ride lots. The vision driving these efforts is to significantly reduce car dependency in Bishkek, promoting instead a robust network of public and bicycle transport options. Plans are underway to construct seven park-and-ride facilities around the city’s perimeter, encouraging commuters to opt for public transport upon entering Bishkek. City officials have consistently advocated for strategies to lower rampant smog levels and congestion, including proposals to limit private car access into the city based on a vehicle's license plate number. Furthermore, the Mayor's Office announced plans to establish at least two advanced transport and transfer hubs at key entry points into Bishkek. These hubs will serve as critical junctions for intercity and regional bus routes, facilitating seamless connections with the city's public transport system. By 2030, these initiatives aim to achieve a 20% reduction in car usage within the city and cut congestion by 30%.

19 hours ago

Articles

IMF Positive on Uzbekistan’s Progress

The International Monetary Fund held consultations with the authorities of Uzbekistan in Tashkent from April 23 to May 7, 2024. According to the results of the discussions, the organization delivered their official statement regarding the mission on May 14. According to the statement, the rate of growth of Uzbekistan’s economy remains high. Although the volume of remittances has returned to the trend of the period until 2022, the implementation of stimulative fiscal policies, a sharp increase in fixed capital investment and private consumption served to increase GDP in real terms by 6% in 2023. In the first quarter of 2024, the growth rate remained high. Steady growth in real incomes and measures to expand the scope of the social protection system since 2020 helped reduce the poverty rate from 17% in 2021 to 11% in 2023. Headline inflation fell from 12.3% at the end of 2022 to 8% in March 2024 due to a relatively high real base rate and lower global food and energy prices. In 2023, the external current account deficit expanded to 8.6% of GDP from 3.5% in 2022. This increase was driven by a surge in imports of machinery and equipment (some of which is temporary), lower remittances compared to 2022, higher net interest payments on foreign debt, and repatriation of earnings by foreign-owned businesses. Despite buoyant gold exports, international reserves decreased by $1.2 billion in 2023, although they remain substantial, equivalent to about nine months of imports as of March 2024. The authorities’ strong reform efforts in energy, privatization, and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) continue to bolster economic prospects. Real GDP growth is expected to be robust at 5.4% in 2024, supported by strong domestic demand, and is projected to edge up to 5.5% in 2025. Ongoing fiscal adjustments, moderate bank lending growth, and the reversal of temporary import increases in 2023 are set to curb import growth and reduce the current account deficit this year and next. Inflation is expected to temporarily rise by the end of 2024 due to higher administered energy prices, but sustained tight macroeconomic and macro-prudential policies, alongside structural reforms, aim to lower it toward the Central Bank of Uzbekistan’s target. However, risks remain elevated given the highly uncertain external environment. External risks include spillovers from an escalation of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, commodity price volatility, and a sudden global economic downturn. Domestically, risks involve slower fiscal consolidation, weakened bank balance sheets, and potential liabilities from state banks, SOEs, and public-private partnerships (PPPs). Upside risks include acceleration of structural reforms, continued favorable inflows of income and capital, and higher gold prices. The authorities aim to join the World Trade Organization, which, along with enhanced trade cooperation and improved transport routes, would boost Uzbekistan’s exports. Closing gender gaps in labor force participation would increase inclusion, productivity, and GDP. Climate adaptation policies and incentives for green technology would mitigate vulnerabilities, de-carbonize the economy, and promote green growth. “The government should maintain momentum on anti-corruption efforts, building on sustained and significant improvements in governance...

19 hours ago

Articles

EBRD: Uzbekistan’s Economy Shows Stable Growth

Uzbekistan's economy will grow by 6.5% this year, and by 6% by 2025, according to a forecast published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This growth is expected due to investments in fixed capital and an increase in net exports. Central Asia's trade with Russia peaked in 2023 and played an important role in economic growth. Uzbekistan's GDP grew by 6% due to increased consumer spending driven by rising wages and credit expansion. The budget deficit amounted to 5.5%, against a forecast of 4%. According to the bank's analysts, in 2024 the budget deficit may be reduced due to energy subsidies, which will reduce government spending by about 1.5% of GDP. Economists also noted an increase in investment in the region in transportation, logistics, and export-oriented manufacturing. The economy was boosted by rising wages and real incomes, credit expansion, and intra-regional trade. "Sustained wage and real income growth, combined with a surge in foreign arrivals and the tourism sector, fueled a consumer boom, which was further supported by technological advances in consumer credit," the report states. Recent tariff reforms in Uzbekistan will also cut energy subsidies, which will reduce government spending by 1.5% of GDP, the bank said. At the same time, there are great prospects for foreign direct investment in privatization, but the chronic shortage of energy and water remains a negative factor. The decline in inflation to single-digit figures throughout the region has allowed regulators to start revising their monetary policy in favor of stimulating economic growth. The EBRD believes that the main public policy challenges in the region for 2024-2025 will be improving infrastructure and governance, tariff reforms, and harmonizing the use of common resources such as transport, water, and energy.

20 hours ago

Articles

Medical Universities of Kazakhstan, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan Synchronize Study Programs

A joint international center for medical education will be opened by universities of Kazakhstan, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Preliminary agreements were reached on the margins of the International Forum, Russia - Islamic World: KazanForum. Specialists will work on the compatibility of educational programs, the possibility of obtaining double diplomas, and mutual recognition of medical education, Sputnik reports. "We have an opportunity to join forces in developing new educational programs... to develop the quality and accessibility of medical education," said Alexei Sozinov, Rector of the Kazan State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of Russia (KSMU), noting that this will also help reduce the shortage of doctors observed in each of the participating areas. Agreements were also reached on a joint postgraduate program were signed within the framework of the economic forum. "There is a need to work on joint educational programs, double degree programs, so that medical education is recognized in all countries that are part of the Eurasian Union," said the Vice-Rector for Strategic Development of the Medical University of Karaganda NAO, Victor Ricklefs. In addition, Director of the Center for Strategic Development and Quality of Education at the Abu Ali Ibn Sino Tajik State Medical University, Mahmudzoda Hayem Ruziboi stated that the new center, with further development, will create a model for the future doctor of Central Asia, which will meet the requirements of all states and communities.

20 hours ago

Articles

French ELLE to be published in Uzbekistan

The world-famous fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health and entertainment magazine, ELLE will now be published in Uzbekistan. Founded in 1945 by Ellen Gordon-Lazarev, ELLE is currently the world's largest fashion magazine, reaching 32 million readers and more than 90 million unique visitors per month on 56 local sites. When social media is taken into account, ELLE has an audience of over 200 million people worldwide. This is the first time a global magazine of this scale is entering the Uzbek market. The publishers have already started hiring workers for the Uzbek representative office. The peculiarity of this edition will be that for the first time an international media brand will be printed in the Uzbek language. The magazine's website and its local social networks will be launched in June, and in September readers will be able to receive the print version of the publication. "ELLE Oʻzbekiston will be the first international publication to produce content in Uzbek," the magazine's representatives said. In total, the publication will be published in three languages: Uzbek, Russian and English.      

20 hours ago

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