Only two years ago, Uzbekistan was an almost closed country: Hardly any investor ventured into the Central Asian Republic with its 30 million inhabitants, where President Islom Karimov had established a kind of nepotism beyond comparison. But when, after his death in September 2016, long-time Prime Minister Shavkat Miziyoyev took the lead, Uzbekistan is opening: the government is working against corruption and bureaucracy, it has noticeably improved the investment climate, facilitates exports and is in the process of creating a zero tax regimes for investors.
According to the World Bank, Uzbekistan is today one of the world’s top 10 reforming countries. The economy grew by 5.3 percent last year, with an increase of 5.5 percent expected this year. Investors who have been waiting for a long time and feared a roll-back to hard autocracy and isolation are now interested in the country – including Creon Capital. The Creon Energy Fund is currently exploring several investment opportunities in the country’s chemicals sector, all of which are export-oriented.
In May, Creon Capital Manager Florian Willershausen participated in a delegation trip of the Eastern Committee of German Business. The 70-member delegation from Germany attended a business conference in Tashkent, where companies such as Siemens promised their first concrete investment. Creon Capital also met with Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, who was very open to investment from Europe and promised maximum support at the administrative level.
Florian Willershausen commented positively on the results of the trip: “After years of isolation, the opening up of the country is more than just a government PR program. Small and medium-sized companies are venturing out of their way, who see great opportunities in the processing of oil and gas.” In the medium term, Uzbekistan could become a real growth driver in Central Asia, says Willershausen.
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