Why to invest in Uzbekistan?
- The priority of the economy over politics. Uzbekistan is rapidly changing the course for openness to the world and foreign capital.
- Uzbekistan, the most populous country (more than 32 million population with a high level of education) with historically significant cities in Central Asia (Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva), is the largest consumer market in the region.
- Uzbekistan has a favorable geographical position due to its proximity to the largest markets and is the key to Central Asia. There is an Agreement on free trade with the CIS countries, which provides duty-free access of Uzbekistan’s products to regional markets with a population of more than 300 million people.
Most favored nation treatment with 46 countries.
- Developed communications and logistics (air, rail and auto).
Favorable natural conditions: warm – 8 months a year, 275 sunny days.
- Huge investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy:
– undervalued real estate (commercial and residential);
– national traditions of hospitality, as a foundation for the development of tourism. The vast expanse of various locations where you can build hotels and resorts, including themed ones;
– the growing demand for consumer goods in a different price range;
– underdevelopment of retail and packaging of food and beverages;
– a developing banking sector with growing potential;
– Retail needs modern shopping centers.
It is also very important and attractive:
- the availability of raw material potential of the country (especially cotton, silk cocoons, silk yarn)
- relatively low energy prices
- inexpensive labor
- strong government support
- a “developed legal” base.
Investing in Uzbekistan – the Reforms
- The local currency, the Som, is now free floating. Some of the main remaining restrictions were removed in August 2019.
- Capital controls were abolished in Q1 2019. Accordingly, foreign investors can now repatriate their money.
- Climbed from 166thplace to 76th place in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, from 2012 to 2018
- Since early this year; visa free access for citizens of many countries. Moreover, Uzbekistan recently added India & China to the list. It’s quite a dramatic shift from what used to be a hugely restrictive system. It’ll do wonders for tourism, for which the country has a lot of potential.
- Corporate and personal income tax rates of 12%.
Investing in Uzbekistan – the Macro & Fiscal aspects
- A low debt to GPD ratio of about 22%.
- Real GDP growth of 7% between 2013 & 2018.
- Comfortable foreign reserves worth 13 months of imports.
- A literacy rate of 99%, which bodes well for the services industry.
- A GDP per capital (not PPP) of about USD 1,500 versus Kazakhstan’s USD 9,300.
Lots of Natural resources.
Agriculture is huge, and will stand to gain massively from the coming mechanization. Additionally, the country is also the world’s 7th gold producer, and has substantial reserves of copper, zinc, uranium, lead, gas and oil.
- A very under-leveraged economy as per this graph from “The Economist”.