Books on Kyrgyzstan
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: 280 - (29/04/04)
The Kyrgyz have a problem. Their president, Askar Akayev, is due to bow out in 2005, when his term of office expires. But he is not inclined to do so. Central Asian dictators rarely are.
It is perhaps unfair to couple Akayev with the piranhas who call the shots in the other Central Asian republics. They are ghastly characters, every one of them. He started out life as a civilised man, and has a career as a brilliant physicist in Leningrad, who early on realised the absurdity of the Soviet system.
He was elected as leader in 1991 as a result of an anomaly, a deadlock between two communist hack leaders for the succession whose supporters could agree on only one proposition - that he, a head of the Soviet academy of sciences, was better than either of them!
The Wonderboy of the West
Presidential elections loom in 2005, from which he is debarred from standing by reason of the constitution. His second term expires then. He has said that he will abide by the constitution. But there are calls for him to stand all the same.
Elizabeth Jones, the feisty US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Asia, was in town recently and stated her belief that there would be free and fair elections in Kyrgyzstan. She also said that the US was particularly interested in the development of a civil society there.
She could not have spoken more aptly. The republic is, thanks to the US, achieving a major breakthrough here. A free press is being established. As if to prove the point the new departure, a free press, has already been criticised openly in the newly-established free press. Akayev is almost certainly the best bet the West could have in such a remote backwater as
Kyrgyzstan banks collect World Bank financing
National Bank of Kyrgyzstan's head recently affirmed a World Bank loan for the country's banking sector, New Europe has reported.
Head of NBK's payment system department, Avtandil Suleimanov, recently announced that the World Bank board approved a US$9m loan for Kyrgyzstan to help upgrade payment systems in the banking sector. He further noted that the project will develop infrastructure for a unified national payment system that will be used by banks and their clients. The new system will enable banks to process large amounts in a more reliable and secure manner and provide wider access to banking services to the population. The project is to be implemented in about four and a half years, a World Bank statement said. It will include clearing and real time settlement systems, the introduction of a processing centre and the upgrade of the National Bank's main accounting books. The International Development Association (IDA) will provide the loan for 40 years on easy terms at 0.75% annually with a 10-year grace period. Kyrgyzstan adopted a government programme on payment system development in December 2002 and in 2003 the National Bank transferred to an electronic payments system.
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