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A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1864; it achieved independence from
the Soviet Union in 1991. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic
relations, and terrorism.
Update No: 256 - (23/04/02)
The Kyrgyz regime has taken some momentous decisions of late, which could see its economy transformed. The most significant was to allow the Americans in,
letting them install a military base at Manas where there is a large airport. Kyrgyzstan had a large military profile in Soviet times, its capital Bishkek
(then called Frunze) having the Soviet Union's largest military academy.
US military base
The new US base is to be on a large scale, with 3,000 personnel, surveillance equipment and a three-mile perimeter. Supposedly part of the international
anti-terror campaign, it will not have escaped the Chinese that it is only 150km from their border. China is now encircled with US military bases.
Kyrgyzstan can now expect more US assistance, although to save everyone's face, the deal is not being put so crudely as a quid pro quo. President Askar
Akayev had more reasons than one for entering into the deal. The republic has genuinely been beset by the incursions of troops of the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan over the last few years. It lessens the dependence on Russia and opens up a new relationship with the world's superpower.
Germans to the rescue of the economy
Akayev has since taken another bold initiative, going to Germany, where he secured support for reform and promises of aid from top officials and Chancellor
Shroeder himself. The Germans are very good at sponsoring transition economies and edging them in the right direction. They have played a major role in
Estonia's success. Akayev is counting on them to repeat the process in Kyrgyzstan.
The remote Central Asian state, far from world markets, is a different proposition than the well-located Baltic state with its Protestant work ethic and
educated population. The nomadic traditions of Kyrgyzstan are a different story.
Germany had pledged 19m Euros for each of 2001 and 2002, while not specifying future aid. But the best help is not so much financial, as in the form of
advice and institutional support, how to set up an efficient central bank for instance.
The Kyrgyz-German technical university has opened in Bishkek. A branch office of the German institute for ground researches is also soon to open in Bishkek.
Akayev as a former physicist has an appreciation of the importance of technology and organised these developments on his recent German trip.
The Germans have agreed to prepare auditors for Kyrgyzstan and a Kyrgyz-German economic forum is due to be held in Bishkek soon. The combination of US and
German involvement promises to transform the republic's prospects.
EBRD microfinancing programme in Bishkek
An EBRD microfinancing programme will start in Kyrgyzstan in May. The total price of the project is US$15m and it will be accessible to all clients who are
interested in receiving microcredits, head of the EBRD Permanent Representation in Kyrgyzstan, Fernand Pionell, said at a presentation of EBRD projects
financed by direct investments, posted by CAN/www.Caspian.ru.
EBRD investments in the private sector for 2001 reached some US$5m for five projects. This year the investment volume remains at the same level. The new
microfinancing programme will grant credits from US$1,000-5,000 and from US$100,000 - US$1m with the term of repayment from three months to one year.
MINERALS & METALS
Gold exports to Yerevan
Having a lot of gold fields and semi-precious stones, Kyrgyzstan may supply them to Armenia, where jewellery production is extensively developed, New Europe
The President of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev announced the possibility while commenting on the results of the Armenian delegation's visit to Bishkek. According
to him, this would let Kyrgyzstan gain a worthy place in the gold export market.
Kyrgyzstan and Armenia intend to increase the volume of foreign trade turnover.
Kyrgyztelekom sell-off attracts auditor interest
Kyrgyztelekom announced a tender for an advisor and consultant on strategic privatisation. The company is the national telecommunication operator of
Kyrgyzstan, situated in Central Asia. The republic State property and foreign investments committee is the department that has a controlling interest in
Akipress reported that the government is going to sell 51 per cent of shares to a strategic partner. Two audit companies handed in applications for this
project. The first was the audit-consulting company Unicon, the leading Russian company, and the second was the Kyrgyz-Russian company Marka-Audit. The
results will be known in the near future whereas the commission fees for consulting on Kyrgyztelekom's strategic privatisation is not yet known.
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