• KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00223 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09127 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00223 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09127 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Two Hydrometric Stations Open On Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Border

Two hydrometric stations have been opened along the cross-border Great Fergana Canal and North Fergana Canal, according to a report by news portal Gazeta.uz. Construction of the stations was facilitated by the Swiss government’s Blue Peace Central Asia initiative. The project was started in 2017 in response to the need for a cross-border strategy for water management in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The hydrometric stations were opened as part of the sixth meeting of the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan working group on the coordinated use of the transnational rivers’ water resources in Central Asia. The two countries signed a protocol on the automated computations and real-time transfer of cost data to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan from the two stations. The Gazeta.uz report claims that Switzerland has been assisting water reform initiatives in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for nearly 20 years, employing an integrated approach to national water resources management. Blue Peace Central Asia supports the creation of guidelines for regional cooperation aimed at ensuring water security for the entire population of Central Asia. Recently, the data source Meteojurnal released statistics regarding the use of Amudarya water by Central Asian nations in 2023, based on information from the scientific information center of the Central Asian interstate water management coordination commission (Afghanistan was not taken into account). The largest user of river water was Turkmenistan, which diverted 42% of river water (20 cubic kilometers) to its own country. In second place was Uzbekistan, which used 38.4% of the river’s water (about 18.3 cubic kilometers). The next largest user, Tajikistan, accounted for 19.8% of water (more than 9.4 cubic kilometers).

Artificial Intelligence in Central Asia: Applications and Regulation

The debate on the need for worldwide regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining momentum, given that over the past year AI has become a key tool for millions of people. With a growing number of organizations applying AI in various fields, including medicine, politics and judicial decisions, the urgent question is how to integrate AI into legislation. In Central Asia, in 2020 the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan authorized remote identification of individuals at banks using AI, machine learning and other predictive algorithms to process customer biometric data. Bishkek also introduced a facial recognition system based on artificial intelligence which allows data about wanted persons to be entered, and cameras to automatically identify them and transmit information to law enforcement. Artificial intelligence has also found its application in the political process. In 2020, the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan Party used a digital bot farm during the elections which generated approximately 150 profiles a day, automatically wrote comments and then self-liquidated. In Tajikistan, where the use of AI is not widespread, MegaFon stands out for its introduction of the Dono chatbot in 2019. This artificial interlocutor interacts with around 14,000 subscribers per day, freeing humans from routine tasks and allowing them to deal with more complex issues. In Uzbekistan, meanwhile, the government is taking active measures to stimulate the development of AI technologies. A presidential decree has established comprehensive steps towards the digitization of the economy and the social sphere. Digitization of government data in various sectors, such as justice, communications, finance, education and healthcare are becoming an integral part of the development strategy. The application of AI technologies, starting with image recognition and navigation systems, has already become a tangible part of task-solving in large enterprises, and the country is actively working to create an enabling environment to further expand the use of AI. In Kazakhstan, AI is being actively introduced in the judicial system, and over the past two years AI systems have been used to analyze court cases and predict their outcomes. The authorities believe that this approach helps minimize errors and improves the quality of justice. In the field of healthcare, since 2022 Kazakhstan has been successfully operating the PneumoNet program based on artificial intelligence. This program makes it possible to detect 17 of the most pathogenic lung diseases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and cancer. Currently, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan do not have specific laws regulating the creation and use of AI. Despite this, the Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Tajikistan until 2040 notes that during the implementation of the first and second stages of said strategy, legal, institutional and infrastructural frameworks will be developed, and the necessary specialists will be trained. Unlike its neighbors, Uzbekistan adopted a presidential decree "On measures to create conditions for the accelerated introduction of artificial intelligence technologies" as early as 2021. This document has become the legal foundation for the further development of AI in the country, defining its main directions. The resolution emphasizes the need to develop...

Tajikistan Extends Asset Legalization for Another Year

Since 2003 Tajikistan has been pursuing a policy of legalization, or declaration to tax and other authorities, of citizens' income and property. After Tajikistan's most recent attempts at legalization have been reassuring, parliament has extended the term of the monetary amnesty for one more year -- until January 5, 2025. Over the course of the policy that was set in motion by the law "on amnesty in connection with legalization of assets and money of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan," the total amount of legalized, declared money amounted to $540m and 4,000 certificates of property. That data was cited by Firdavs Tolibzoda, chairman of the National Bank of Tajikistan. The authorities have extended the program several times, although it was originally designed to run for a year, and its efficacy means it's getting yet another extension. The law provides for voluntary declaration of money and property. Thus, holders are exempt from liability and can avoid paying taxes, fines and interest on those fees and penalties. These conditions, as well as maintaining secrecy of ownership information, are guaranteed by the state. This is not the first time that Tajikistan has conducted monetary amnesty drives: legalization in the country has already been attempted three times, but this is the first time that both property and finances can be legalized at the same time. According to the Global Organized Crime Index, Tajikistan remains the country with the highest risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in the world. Despite the fact that the country is battling these types of crimes, the shadow economy still operates at a high level in Central Asia's poorest country. Bringing assets and income into the legal or "white" economy out of the shadow economy is seen as an effective way to attract additional funds to the country's economy and to increase the growth financing of its industries. It's expected that the new funds will help to create additional jobs by creating new enterprises and increasing the capitalization of existing ones. Only money and property which were not previously listed in official declarations can be legalized. At the same time, the state allows legalization of illegal assets that fall under more than 60 articles of the criminal and administrative code of the republic.

Peace Following Kyrgyz-Tajik Clashes Allows Hydro Engineers to Visit Tajikistan

For the first time since the start of armed clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, business cooperation between the two countries has begun to return. Kyrgyz Energy Minister Taalaibek Ibrayev and his delegation recently visited a pair of Tajikistan's energy facilities, the Rogun and Nurek hydroelectric power plants (HPP), according to the press service of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Energy. Tajikistan's Deputy Minister for Energy Halmukhamadzoda Sobron showed Kyrgyz colleagues how the Rogun HPP is being built, as well as some special underground facilities and tunnels under the plant. Sobron described problems faced by Tajik hydro construction workers when using construction equipment at the site, and detailed the integrated stage-by-stage approach to building the main structures of the hydropower plant. "More than 15,000 hydro construction workers are involved in the construction of the Rogun HPP, more than 300,000 machines and equipment are operated, and skillful planning allows dozens of contracting companies to work simultaneously," Tajik power engineers emphasized. The Kyrgyz side noted that the exchange of experience in the construction of such grandiose facilities will be useful in the construction of Kambar-Ata HPP-1 in Kyrgyzstan. During the three-day visit, Kyrgyz power engineers also visited plants responsible for the production of hydromechanical equipment and for  the production of electrical equipment. During the meetings it was emphasized that after the border issue is resolved, the sides are ready to cooperate with each other again on all issues. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are usually connected by high-voltage power lines, which play an important role in the regular supply of electricity to local residents living in the border areas. However, these lines are now out of operation. The problem with the border between the two countries arose after the collapse of the USSR. Essentially both parties claimed land that's rich in water resources, as the issue of agricultural irrigation is very relevant in the arid region. More than 30 years have passed since then, and the parties still cannot agree on the disputed territories. Because of this, conflicts periodically arise between citizens of border villages -- as well as residents of enclaves and border guards of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- including with the use of heavy weaponry. The last such conflict took place in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and Sughd region of Tajikistan in September 2022 -- at which time there were hundreds of deaths on both sides and civilian infrastructure was destroyed. Since May 2021, transportation by land or air between the countries remains closed. Trade and all business contacts have been suspended. To date, the two countries have agreed to demarcate about 90% of the disputed territories. Rogun HPP is a hydroelectric power plant under construction on the Vakhsh River. It is the largest HPP in Central Asia. Construction of Rogun HPP began in the 1970s, but in the 1990s work was stopped due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of civil war in Tajikistan. Construction resumed only in 2010 with the support of the World Bank. The first...

Uzbekistan Ranks First in Central Asia in Number of Marriages and Last in Divorces

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Interstate Statistical Committee has published its compendium for 2022 on its website. Getting acquainted with the statistics of marriages and divorces of the collection, one sees that in 2022, there were 8.4 marriages and 1.4 divorces for every 1,000 people in Uzbekistan. The marriage indicator is 6.5 in Kazakhstan, and there were 2.3 divorces per 1,000; in Kyrgyzstan the data indicates 7.0 marriages and 1.8 divorces. Also of note was data on the intensity of internal migration, with Kazakhstan leading in this category with 41.3 per 1,000 people moving internally in 2022. In Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the indicator was 6.0, respectively. Tajikistan's data for 2021-2022 is not provided; the country showed 3.7 results per 1,000 people for 2020. At the same time, the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan reports that in 2023, there were 283,800 marriages and 49,200 divorces in the nation. In Kazakhstan, 90,300 marriages were registered between January and September of 2023, an 8.1% decrease from the same period in 2022. Based on the data that was submitted, there were 12,400 divorces in the first nine months of last year, and also an 8.1% decrease in divorces year-on-year. In Kyrgyzstan, 12,552 couples filed for divorce in 2023, while 45,495 marriages were registered before the law. Statistics for Tajikistan in 2021 (data for 2022 isn't yet available) showed that there were 7.6 marriages and 1.4 divorces per thousand. In 2023, 76,444 marriages and 10,298 divorces were officially registered. The statistical collection also includes data on these nations' populations, rates of illness and disability, educational attainment and cultural practices, economic activity, the material and housing circumstances of the populace, the environment, and crime.

EDB Reports Economic Growth in Three Central Asian Countries

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) has released the latest Macroeconomic Review for its six member states — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. In the face of a challenging external economic environment, the EDB region saw a strong recovery in 2023, with the aggregate GDP of the six nations increasing by almost 4%. According to EDB analysts, this growth was propelled by internal drivers such as robust consumer and investment demand, as well as effective adjustments in production to accommodate changing operating conditions. In Central Asia, Kazakhstan’s economy showed particularly robust growth, surpassing 5% by the end of 2023, largely due to government programs aimed at unlocking the country’s investment potential. Investment and trade increased by 13.7% and 11.3% respectively over the year. Inflation in Kazakhstan continued to decline, with the year-on-year inflation rate dropping from 9.8% in 2023 to 9.5% in January 2024, laying the groundwork for further monetary policy easing. Kyrgyzstan's GDP grew by 6.2% in 2023, supported by stronger consumer demand and increased investment activity. Inflation in the country halved to 7.3% year-on-year in 2023, but the National Bank kept its discount rate unchanged at 13% per annum due to persistent pro-inflationary risks. Furthermore, abnormally cold weather in December-January 2022-23 contributed to an increase in production from the energy sector. However, there are factors that still hinder the pace of growth for businesses in the country. Against a backdrop of persistent, pro-inflationary risks, the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic is maintaining its base lending rate at 13 percent per annum to help control price growth. "We believe that domestic demand will weaken against the backdrop of constraining monetary policy conditions and the projected state budget surplus. According to our estimates, GDP will grow by 4.5 percent in 2024," EDB analysts report. For its part, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of Kyrgyzstan said that the greatest contribution to GDP growth was made by industrial production. According to the department, the economy received an additional boost due to an increase in the output of basic metals. As has been reported previously, Kyrgyz gold miners have exported a record amount of gold in recent years. In Tajikistan, strong domestic demand and increased exports drove an 8.3% GDP growth in 2023. Inflation declined to 3.8% year-on-year at the end of 2023, close to the lower bound of the National Bank’s target range. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were not included in the report as they aren't EDB member countries. However, according to local media reports, they also showed strong growth at the end of 2023. The Uzbek economy grew by 6 percent, mainly due to growth in industry and increased agricultural  output in agriculture. Turkmenistan's GDP in 2023 showed growth of 6.3 percent -- mainly due to growth in the economic spheres of trade, industrial production and agriculture. According to international organizations, Turkmenistan's GDP has almost doubled in the last five years to $82 billion from $46.5 billion. Turkmen authorities are actively investing in the oil & gas sector, which...

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