Investment and Business in Uzbekistan

In 2019, The Economist chose Uzbekistan as its Country of the Year. This was largely due to the rapid and significant economic reforms which are being implemented, and the exciting opportunities which the country offers for investors. 

Uzbekistan is currently transitioning from being a planned economy to a full market economy. Dozens of state-owned enterprises are being privatised, with large companies in key sectors such as energy, mining, and transport scheduled to have IPOs in the next five years. Uzbekistan’s first Eurobonds were listed successfully on the London Stock Exchange in 2019, with more bond listings planned. 

Uzbekistan has a GDP of nearly $60 billion a year, and has grown at more than 4% a year for the past two decades. Uzbekistan’s economic growth will undoubtedly slow in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 crisis, but the World Bank and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are still forecasting a growth rate of 1.5% for Uzbekistan. This means that Uzbekistan is one of a very small number of countries worldwide which will avoid economic recession.

Uzbekistan’s economy is well diversified, with large oil and gas reserves and mineral deposits, a strong industrial output, a large agricultural sector, and a growing services sector.  Uzbekistan is a major producer and exporter of gold, copper, and uranium, and the country’s proven gas reserves exceed 3.4 trillion m3. 

Tourism in Uzbekistan has grown rapidly since 2016, and there are numerous business opportunities in the sector. On a large scale, Uzbekistan is seeking investors for airports and the state airline, Uzbekistan Airways. The brand new Amirsoy Mountain Resort opened in winter 2019, and the neighbouring ski resorts of Chimgan and Beldersoy could be developed to international standards to create a huge ski zone to rival those in the Alps. Uzbektourism offers financial incentives for investors developing 4* and 5* hotels, and there is also demand for smaller, boutique properties catering to niche and high-profile tourists, especially outside the main tourist centres.

To learn more about investing or doing business in Uzbekistan, join the Visit Uzbekistan Business Club, pick up a copy of Visit Uzbekistan’s sister magazine Dynamic Uzbekistan, or read about current investment projects and incentives from the Investment Promotion Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan.