Books on Kyrgyzstan
Update No: 285 - (01/10/04)
Relations with Moscow as vital as those with Washington
The deployment of Russian and American military bases in Kyrgyzstan does not
trigger rivalry but promotes cooperation, particularly in the fight against
terrorism, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev said when presenting his new book
"Optimistic about the Future. Thinking about the Foreign Policy and World
Order" in Moscow on September 20th.
"The territory of Kyrgyzstan will never become a scene of rivalry between
the two great nations [Russia and the United States], it will be a scene of
cooperation," he said.
"There are a lot of myths" about Kyrgyzstan's relations with Russia
and the United States, he said. According to these myths, Moscow and Washington
want to force each other out of Central Asia with their military presence in
Kyrgyzstan, he said.
Relations with Moscow are "a top priority" of Kyrgyzstan, Akayev said.
"For me personally, these relations are the closest to my heart," he
Minorities the key to Akayev's power
This is putting an optimistic gloss on things, but it is not all just windy
rhetoric. Akayev has been brilliant at cultivating the support of the country's
ethnic minorities, particularly the two largest, the Russians and the Uzbeks,
who feel welcome under his rule. He knows the republic needs their skills.
As a long-time resident in Leningrad, for seventeen years in fact in Soviet
times, he is as natural cosmopolitan.
The ethnic Uzbeks are rooting for him to stand again for the presidency in 2005
when new elections are due, despite the fact that it would be unconstitutional
for him to do so for a third term. He is the guarantor of stability, the only
one around. He may yet be induced to stand, which would disappoint certain
foreign observers, who do not, however, live there.
Economy now successful, the president says
Akayev has said the country has overcome the transition period, he said in an
address dealing with preparations for local elections. The reform that has been
pursued for the past 13 years has helped the country overcome "an acute
systemic crisis," he said.
"We can say that the transition period is behind us and we have reached a
radical and qualitative change in our development," he said.
Kyrgyzstan has enjoyed steady economic growth over the past years and is
increasing its potential in all spheres, Akayev said. "The past several
years have seen positive dynamism, which has made it possible to significantly
reduce poverty. Real GDP growth has been 4.5% per annum in this time, and in the
past eight months it has been 8%. Inflation has been under 5% and provides the
opportunity to increase the people's incomes in a rate that gives grounds to
expect qualitative improvement of their living standards," the president
"The republic has at last overcome the most difficult phase in its
development," Akayev said at the meeting
Kyrgyzstan aims for annual economic growth of 7-8%
Kyrgyzstan intends to maintain its annual economic growth of 7-8% for the next
few years, Deputy Prime Minister Joomart Otorbayev said at an early September
conference in Moscow on the transformation of CIS economies.
Mining industries, hydropower plants and agriculture will be the main resources
for economic growth, he said. "But the main source for medium-term economic
growth is small and medium sized businesses," he said. The government wants
to enlarge the share of small and medium businesses in its GDP from the current
30-35% to 70-80%, he said.
The Kyrgyz government is working on a taxation system for small and medium
businesses in cooperation with international financial organizations. The system
will legalize the businesses, Otorbayev said.
Direct foreign investments have amounted to 8-10% of GDP since 1996. The annual
growth of direct foreign investments reached 30-40% for the past three to four
years. Inflation has stood at 2-3% for the past three years. Kyrgyzstan, which
has to import all its fuel, is under pressure to strengthen its national
currency against the U.S. dollar, the Russian ruble and the Kazakh tenge.
But the problem is also to be addressed by building hydro-power stations with
Russian help, showing how vital is the good relationship with Moscow.
Kyrgyzstan hydro-plant projects to cost US$2 bln - Chubais
It will cost around US$2 billion to finish building the two Kambar-Ata
hydroelectric dams in Kyrgyzstan, Anatoly Chubais, the head of Unified Energy
System (UES), Russia's national electricity monopoly, said at a joint press
conference with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev. "Preliminary
estimates put the cost of completing the plants at around US$2 billion,"
Chubais said. "This will probably be a combination of credits and
investments [by the electricity holding]," Chubais said.
Chubais and Tanayev signed a memorandum on the construction of the two plants.
UES and the Kyrgyz government will draft a cooperation agreement on the project.
"Today's memorandum turns the Kambar-Ata project into a priority for our
company," Chubais said. A full-scale agreement will be signed by November
30," he said.
Chubais also said UES might bid at a tender for a concession over Kyrgyzstan's
Sevelektro power utility. "This project interests UES," he said.
"We may be among the bidders," he said.
The Kyrgyz prime minister said "the parliament is deliberating the
concession, an appraisal is being conducted by experts and the World Bank, and I
think we will be ready to tender the concession by the end of the year,"
Tanayev said. He said the concession was not a subject for discussion during
The memorandum states that Kyrgyzstan and UES will draft a feasibility study for
the completion of the Kambar-Ata plants on an equal basis. Other parties, too,
are eligible to make a financial contribution.
Work on the two hydro-plants began in 1990, however Kyrgyz officials have said
Kyrgyzstan is not in a position to invest in their completion. The government
has said it would like Russia to become involved. Kazakhstan, too, has shown an
ADB to credit Kyrgyzstan in 2004-2006
The Asian Development Bank (ABD) plans to provide Kyrgyzstan with loans
totaling over US$120m in 2004- 2006, Muhammad Tusnim, director of the bank's
East and Central Asia department, said at a press conference in early September.
Tusnim held consultations with representatives from the republic's government on
September 4-6, in addition to representatives from a number of ministries and
donor organizations to discuss ADB activity. He also studied progress in
transport, agricultural and social projects being financed by the bank in the
The ADB acknowledges that the republic has achieved a lot over the past years
and the bank plans to increase soft crediting and aid, Tusnim said. He said that
the bank plans to pay out US$32.8m to Kyrgyzstan this year to build the
Osh-Sarytash-Irkeshtam highway, joining Kyrgyzstan and China and US$7.5m to
develop border customs posts and promote regional trade.
The bank plans to pay out US$18m in 2005 to develop education and US$22m to
develop the financial sector.
In 2006 the ADB plans to provide US$30m to develop agriculture and US$10m to
support professional technical education.
Tusnim said that the republic is receiving soft credits on very good terms - for
30 years at 1.5% per year with a grace period of eight years
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Kyrgyzstan and Japan contemplate cooperation
Kyrgyz President, Askar Akayev, and Japanese Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi,
discussed prospects for bilateral cooperation and the advancement of regional
cooperation in Central Asia at a meeting in Bishkek on August 30th. "Japan
attaches great significance to the development of cooperation with Central Asian
countries, Kyrgyzstan in particular," Japanese foreign Ministry press
secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said, Interfax News Agency reported.
"Japan favours peace in the insecure region bordering Afghanistan and Iraq,
which prompts the determination to render assistance to Central Asian states for
their more successful development," Takashima said.
"To this end, Japan is planning a number of programmes, one of which
includes training and courses. The needs of each particular Central Asian
country will be defined in detail later," he added.
Speaking of Kyrgyz-Japanese cooperation, he said: "Japan strives for closer
cooperation with Kyrgyzstan and will continue helping it advance various areas
of the Kyrgyz economy and promote the operations of Japanese business in
Kyrgyzstan." He added, "Japan will be extending its efforts to develop
civil society in Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan and the development of
democracy." Kyrgyzstan is a leader in the region in economic and democratic
reform, he noted.
Kyrgyzstan to decide on Issyk Lake bank tourist complex
No decision has yet been made with respect to the construction of an 800 hectare
tourist complex on the southern bank of the Issyk-Kul Lake, Zhantoroz Kanimetov,
chairman of the parliamentary Science, Education and Culture Committee, told
Interfax News Agency on September 3rd.
The Issyk-Kul region administration has negotiated a deal with Chinese
businessmen to rent out the land area, but a final decision is to be made by the
government and approved by parliament, he said.
The Issuk Kul Ecological and Economic System Law signed by President Askar
Akayev in August does not allow possession of recreation areas or tourism
infrastructure by foreign organisations or individuals but can be rented out to
them for up to 49 years with a clearance with the Kyrgyz government and
parliament, Kanimetov said. "Furthermore, Kyrgyz citizens must add up to
about 90% of the work force in foreign installations," he said. If the
rented area is not used for the agreed purpose, Kyrgyz authorities may cancel
agreements with foreign parties, Kanimetov said. The new law will protect the
environment and tackle the economic issues of the unique Central Asian area, he
said. "We must not allow Issyk-Kul to meet the fate of the Aral Sea,"
Kanimetov said. According to the Issyk-Kul regional administration, the
Beijing-based Zhunkung company has for years been negotiating with Kyrgyz
authority the construction of a tourist complex that would include a golf club,
nearly 200 cottages, horse riding paths and hunting areas on the bank of the
lake. By early reports, the company intends to invest €200m in this project.
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