IFPRI CA News Digest (November 1 – November 7, 2017)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | November 7, 2017

Economies in Central Asia continue reform agenda
Central Asian countries are continuing to make progress in improving their business climate, according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018 report. Kazakhstan ranks 36th in global rankings in terms of ease of doing business, the highest in the region. Uzbekistan passed a series of business reforms in the past year that ranked it among the world’s top ten fastest improving countries. On the other hand, the region still lags in electricity connectivity, tax procedures, and cross-border trading times. In the case of Uzbekistan, the IMF identified deep-rooted weaknesses in the national banking system, fiscal and monetary policy, and private-sector development. – The Financial (Georgia), Asia Times

Uzbekistan further liberalizes foreign trade activity
Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a number of documents this week easing regulations on foreign trade. From December 1, local exporters will be able to export goods and services for foreign currency without prepayment or the conclusion of an export contract. An additional decree on the export of fruits and vegetables allows local entities to export produce without signing an export contract for deliveries less than $20,000. The decree also enacts measures to speed up the issuance of customs permissions, upgrade sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and improve electronic information systems. – AzerNews, President of Uzbekistan (official website)

Uzbekistan's exports grow 25.6 percent in first nine months of 2017
Uzbek exports totaled $10.4 billion in the first nine months of 2017, a 25.6 percent increase from the same period last year. Trade turnover overall grew 16.7 percent during this timeframe. Uzbekistan’s main trade partners are countries located in Asia (45.7 percent) and Europe (44.2 percent). – AKIPress

Tajikistan set to renew imports of Uzbek gas
Energy officials from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan appear to be on the verge of arriving at an agreement to resume Uzbek gas deliveries to Tajikistan. Uzbekistan stopped selling gas to Tajikistan in 2012, following a series of disagreements and accusations over unpaid bills on one side and price gouging on the other. The negotiations come against the backdrop of ongoing rapprochement between the two countries. – EurasiaNet

 Modernization of scientific research institutions expected in Uzbekistan
Starting from January 1, the Uzbek state budget will cover maintenance costs for facilities of certain state scientific research institutes and salaries of some employees. – AzerNews

Analysis & Other Information
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan bicker over contraband
On October 25, Kazakhstan’s prime minister accused Kyrgyzstan of acting as a conduit for Chinese-made contraband into the Eurasian Economic Union. These remarks accentuate a diplomatic spat between the two countries that has spilled over into cross-border trade. Reports of tightened checks by Kazakh border authorities have been widespread, though the situation has eased somewhat in recent days. Some Kazakh media outlets have claimed that Kyrgyzstan is taking a lax approach toward Chinese imports, which they say undercuts other goods in EEU markets. – EurasiaNet

EBRD lifts 2017 growth forecasts as economies gather pace
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is upgrading its growth forecast for Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Turkey as economic recovery has strengthened due to higher commodity prices and investment. Tajikistan sees the highest upgrade in its growth forecast out of all countries in the region, largely because of a strong recovery in remittances from Russia. Central Asia as a whole is forecast to grow 4.5 percent, up 0.7 percentage points since the May forecast. Financial Times

The Uzbek wholesale market before its renewal
Italy-based fresh produce trade fair MacFrut recently held a promotional tour in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This photojournal feature provides a brief look at some markets in Tashkent and describes Uzbekistan’s growing profile as an international exporter of fruits and vegetables. Delegations from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan began participating in MacFrut fairs in Italy earlier this year. – Fresh Plaza

Publications & Reports
Adapting agricultural water use to climate change in a post-Soviet context: challenges and opportunities in southeast Kazakhstan
Barrett, G. Feola, M. Khusnitdinova, V. Krylova (2017). Human Ecology.

Regional economic prospects in EBRD countries of operations
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. November 2017.

The evaluation of the existing mechanisms of agricultural insurance in the countries of the EEU and the direction of their convergence (in Russian)
Schastlivtseva, A. Osinina, N. Gubanova (2017). Agribusiness Sector: Economics, Management, 2017, pp. 50-62.

Doing Business 2018: reforming to create jobs
World Bank. 2017.





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The articles included in this news digest have been generated from online sources. Any opinions stated herein are not representative of, or endorsed by, the International Food Policy Research Institute or its partners.