The author of the article, Neil Buckley, notes that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has taken a number of bold steps designed to open the country to the outside world. Among them - the release of political prisoners and the exclusion from the
so-called "black lists" of thousands of people for which obstacles to movement and employment were previously created.
Separately, the launch of the virtual reception head of the state, which has already been approached by more than 1.6 million people to solve problems of a personal and public nature, is underlined separately. The media, which publish critical materials, became freer. Last year the 24-hour "Uzbekistan 24" news channel was created with programs on political topics and speeches of officials of different levels.
Speaking about economic reforms, FT reiterates the President's initiative to introduce a two-year moratorium on unscheduled business checks. An important measure is the creation of special economic zones offering tax incentives for investors.
"The Republic has a sufficient supply of natural resources to be self-sufficient in terms of supplying cheap energy. Ambitious plans are planned for diversifying agriculture, building up food, pharmaceutical plants, and developing tourism. Uzbekistan resumed negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization after 10 years of interruption. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development started its activity in the republic."
Neil Buckley calls the creation of jobs for the fast-growing young generation the driving force behind the transformation. The reviewer recalls that more than half the population of the republic is young people under the age of 30, and 600,000 people go to the labor market each year.
The actuality of the subject was demonstrated by the tragedy in Kazakhstan, when 52 Uzbeks were killed in a bus fire, in which they were sent to Russia for work.
The journalist separately identifies the reaction of the head of state to this event: «Shavkat Mirziyoyev promised to create economic conditions for the return of young Uzbeks to their homeland. “What will I tell their parents?” - asked the President and added: “If we were coping with their work, such events could not be.”»
In September 2017, currency restrictions were abolished in Uzbekistan, which, although they led to the depreciation of the national sum, but eliminated significant obstacles to foreign trade and investment. "In general, in Uzbekistan, as one foreign official cautiously assumes, cold times are coming to an end, and a thaw is coming," it says in the publication.
According to the British journalist, changes in Uzbekistan can have large-scale consequences. Being the core state of the region, the republic borders all countries of Central Asia, as well as Afghanistan. Reforms in Uzbekistan, the author is convinced, if they continue, will show that "transformations are possible". In addition, they are able to weaken the isolationism that was inherent in Uzbekistan's foreign policy, and make it an important player in the "New Great Game" conducted by Russia, China and the US for influence on the heart of Eurasia.