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flag Uzbekistan Uzbekistan: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

After the independence, the authorities chose a strategy of gradual reform and import substitution, aimed in particular at achieving energy self-sufficiency, thanks to the country's food and gas resources. Deliberate government policy of economic diversification, export development and investment, which includes the "Program of localization of production of finished products," encouragement of the production of consumer goods, aid to exports, support for SMEs and a program of developing the services, seems to be bringing results.

Loans to SMEs and private companies multiplied by 1.5 in 2010 compared to 2009 and have remained strong since. Similarly, microcredit has multiplied by 1.6. SMEs employed over 75% of the workforce in 2013. The Uzbek government has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening legislation on private property, particularly in order to contribute to the development of private industry. However, both the considerable levels of corruption in the government and a highly restrictive trade policy are hindering the economy. Uzbekistan is still reluctant to move forward in the field of privatization, especially in agriculture. The private sector share is only around 50% and the country remains centralised and under State control.

Uzbekistan's GDP growth is remaining strong since 2009: In 2013 the growth rate has reached 7% (after 8% in 2012). This is explained by the establishment of an "anti-crisis" program intended for commercial banks but also because these are not too dependent of the international financial system.

Uzbekistan faces a high inflation rate (over 11.4% in 2013 after 12.7% in 2012). In 2014, almost one in three people still lives under the poverty line.

The country growth was strong in 2013, thanks to important public investments, the energy sector, a strong domestic demand and the revenues of gold and oil exports. In 2014, growth will remain high despite the possible decrease of cotton prices.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 45.4251.19e56.8163.08e67.89
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 8.38.28.07.0e6.5
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,5611,7211e2,061e2,192
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 9.18.68.58.68.6
Inflation Rate (%) 12.812.111.2e10.011.2
Current Account (billions USD) 2.610.600.060.080.31
Current Account (in % of GDP) 5.81.2e0.10.10.5

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database ; CIA - The world factbook , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

In 2013 services have represented 58% of the GDP, industry contributed 24% and agriculture 18% to the GDP. The main agricultural productions are fruits and vegetables and livestock. Cotton, silk and wool are the basis of the country's large textile industry.  Traditional crafts such as silk dying and carpet weaving, which had been placed aside during the Soviet rule, have restarted again since the country's independence.

Moreover, the country has plenty of natural resources: coal, zinc, copper, tungsten, uranium and silver. Uzbekistan is also a significant producer of gas and oil.  Machinery manufacturing, metallurgy, food-processing, chemical products manufacturing, fertilizers and construction materials are in high development.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Value Added (in % of GDP) 19.1 26.3 54.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 7.0 3.8 9.3

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 2000
Uzbek Sum (UZS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 236.61

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Uzbekistan on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
46.5/100
Position:
Repressed
World Rank:
163/178
Regional Rank:
20/25

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Uzbek trade policy remains restrictive (temporary closures of borders, higher tariffs and heavy import procedures) and therefore generates risk for economic agents. The over-regulated trade policy leaves little space for imports, with the aim of maintaining reserves of convertible currency. The results of the country's foreign trade depend largely on the international price of gold and cotton. The country benefits, in particular, from the record price of gold, which has been rising steadily since 2006.

Agriculture remains a key economic sector (18% of GDP and 34% of the workforce in 2013). However, its specialization in cotton (sixth largest producer, second largest exporter) is the result of a historical legacy rather than a real comparative advantage. Uzbekistan has major extractive resources: gold (the fourth largest  reserve), uranium (8th largest reserve, the seventh largest producer) and gas (21st in terms of reserves, 15th largest world producer). Finally, from the Soviet era Uzbekistan inherited a dense industrial fabric (metallurgy, chemistry, aeronautics) which the state is trying to modernize and which includes some success stories (a large investment by General Motors in the production of export cars and a recent investment by Mercedes-Benz and MAN in the production of buses and trucks in the region of Samarkand).

The limited increase in imports should be attributed to  the country's policy of strict control, as well as to its very high tariff barriers. However, this should not hide the fact of a very large amount of cross-border smuggling. The country mainly imports machinery and equipment, chemicals, food products and ferrous and nonferrous metals.

The countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States have contributed to about one third to foreign trade in 2013. The main export partners of Uzbekistan are Russia (close to 20% of all exports), China, but also Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The share of Russian imports from Uzbekistan amounts to nearly 25%. Russia provides manufactured goods (equipment and weapons). China is a partner of growing importance for Uzbekistan (about 20% of imports in 2013). The third most important is South Korea, whose share of imports is more than 10%.

In 2014, activity will be driven by overseas demand, in particular from Russia, Kazakhstan and China (these countries are accounting for 55% of export) and the high price of gas and gold (47% of export).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 9,0238,6899,95312,03413,000
Exports of Goods (million USD) 10,73511,69513,25410,83612,400
Imports of Services (million USD) 4154865572,145-
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,0361,3281,7732,145-
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.7-4.126.318.86.7
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.96.620.5-5.610.9
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 35.628.531.232.931.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 35.631.733.127.727.7
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 71.260.264.360.659.3

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 
 
 
 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Economy
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade
Statistical Office
State Committee of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank of Uzbekistan
Stock Exchange
Tachkent Stock Exchange (in Uzbek)
Search Engines
Uzbekworld.com
Uztrade
Economic Portals
Economic portal

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The President is both the chief of the state as well as the head of the government. He is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and holds almost all the executive powers. He selects and replaces provincial governors. The Prime Minister and cabinet ministers are also directly appointed by the President with confirmation by the parliament.
Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral in Uzbekistan. The parliament called Supreme Assembly consists of: the Senate (the upper house) having 100 seats with 84 members elected by regional governing councils to serve five-year terms and 16 are appointed by the President; and the Legislative Chamber (the lower house) having 120 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The President and the executive branch completely dominate the legislature and can dissolve it if they wish so. The Parliament meets only a few days every year and has little power to shape laws. The people of Uzbekistan have very limited political rights.
Main Political Parties
The government severely suppresses all political opposition. The five political parties represented in the Parliament, all supporters of President Islam Karimov, are:
- LDPU (Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party ) – advocates liberal and democratic economic values (41 seats)
- NDP (Uzbekistan People's Democratic Party) - former Communist Party, still broadly advocates communist ideology (33 seats)
- Fidokorlar (Self-Sacrifice National Democratic Party) - advocates building an open society based on market-economy while at the same time supporting national interests; targets youth as its support base (18 seats)
- Uzbekistan National Revival Democratic Party - advocates mainly revival of Uzbek culture, promoting solidarity with the rest of Central Asia (11 seats)
- Adolat (Justice) - (7 seats)
Current Political Leaders
President: Islam KARIMOV (since 1991, re-elected in 2000 and 2007)
Prime Minister: Shavkat MIRZIYOYEV (since December 2003)
Next Election Dates
Presidential elections: 2015
Legislative elections: December 2014
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
166/180
Evolution:
2 places down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: January 2015