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Uzbekistan Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Since gaining power in 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has been steering Uzbekistan (the most populous country in Central Asia with a population of 32.9 million as of July 2018) towards greater economic liberalisation. Unlike his predecessor, long-term ruler Islam Karimov, Mirziyoyev is courting influential businessmen of Uzbek origin based in Kazakhstan and Russia successfully in efforts to attract their capital to Uzbekistan, already demonstrated by several investment projects. President Mirziyoyev has spearheaded unprecedented diplomatic outreach to neighbouring states, leading to the normalisation of previously difficult relations with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He is developing a strategic partnership with Kazakhstan while increasing Uzbekistan’s involvement in Afghanistan, gaining him praise from the US. Better relations with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are important for landlocked Uzbekistan to secure and expand export routes to Russia, China and Europe. Mirziyoyev has overseen considerable expansion of Russian economic interest, but so far Uzbekistan has not joined any of the Russian-led intergovernmental organizations, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) or the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). This contrasts sharply with Uzbekistan’s membership in the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The country is continuing to remove its foreign currency restrictions, alongside freeing of the exchange rate, and allowing consumer prices to move to market levels. Tax reform is the next priority and is likely to extend fiscal coverage while permitting streamlining and reduction of tax rates. Progress in all of these reforms will be uneven and may well lack policy consistency. The state will balance extending market freedoms with its own near-term political agenda. Although high inflation and increased unemployment will be unavoidable during these reforms, investment activity will help to drive more elevated GDP growth of near 5% in the early 2020s. Although investment will accelerate because of the reforms, the investment environment still has major weaknesses: widespread corruption, inadequate rule of law, and poor infrastructure. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: January 10, 2019

Operational Outlook

Uzbekistan remains one of the most corrupt former Soviet countries and doing business without paying bribes to officials is very difficult. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's initiatives provide ground for cautious optimism with regard to gradual improvement of commercial environment, including his order to create the position of Business Ombudsman under parliamentary authority, abolition of surprise audits starting from 2017, adoption of framework anti-corruption law and relaxation of currency controls. Firm state control of union activity minimises the likelihood of wildcat strikes.

Last update: January 10, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

Domestic militant groups generally lack capabilities to carry out attacks that will produce mass casualties. Uzbek security service has considerably degraded their capabilities by conducting regular anti-terrorist operations. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's (IMU) dissolution and incorporation into the Islamic State is unlikely to raise terrorism risks. Accession to the Islamic State implies a shift in priorities as former IMU fighters will be embroiled in rivalry with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan increased border defence with Afghanistan, mitigating the risk of cross-border incursions. After a pause caused by events in Andizhan in 2005, the US has resumed security assistance.

Last update: January 10, 2019

War Risks

The government is very likely to use force to suppress civil unrest and against militant groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and its offshoots. While steering clear of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Uzbekistan is an enthusiastic member of China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as evidenced by the fact that Tashkent hosts SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS). Increased border defence mitigates risks of militant incursions from neighboring Afghanistan following the departure of coalition forces. President Mirziyoyev's renewed efforts to resolve border delimitation problems with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reduce the likelihood of trans-border shootouts between border guards as was the case before.

Last update: January 10, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

The government uses harsh methods to suppress civil unrest, as evidenced by the violent dispersal of the protests in Andizhan in 2005. Increased criminalisation of participation in unauthorised demonstrations, coupled with the use of force for crowd control purposes, has had a mitigating impact on social protests in Uzbekistan. Although isolated and primarily economically motivated protests do occur, they are typically quickly contained. President Mirziyoyev's efforts to normalise relations with neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan significantly mitigate the likelihood of ethnically motivated communal violence in disputed border areas. Firm state control of unions makes wildcat strikes very unlikely.

Last update: January 10, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone. There are regular tremors, but the last significant earthquake to cause major damage in Uzbekistan was in 1966.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

As a consequence of Uzbekistan's weak state of economic development, hotel and transit infrastructure is limited throughout the country. Fuel shortages occur from time to time.

The poor condition of roads in the country and the sometimes dangerous driving habits of locals can make driving in the country rather risky.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Uzbekistan's climate is continental with hot and dry summers and cold and dry winters. Temperatures can fluctuate greatly, even over the course of a single day.

Summers can be scorching (40°C, even 50°C in the south). Winters are cool (5°C to 10°C) during the day in most of the country, but freezing in the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan which is exposed to Siberian winds. The climate is pleasant only in the spring and in the months of September and October. The country receives the majority of its rainfall in March-April and October-November, principally along the country's reliefs.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +998
Police: 02
Fire Dept.: 01
Ambulance: 03

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019