OSCE Project Coordinator talks economic, political development of Uzbekistan
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 27
By Ilkin Seyfaddini - Trend:
In 2016, Uzbekistan was the second-most difficult country to visit in the OSCE, in terms of ease of getting visas and other entry documentation, however by January 2020, Uzbekistan had become the second-easiest country to visit, in terms of visa-free access and simple visa upon arrival, OSCE Project Co-Ordinator in Uzbekistan, Ambassador John MacGregor told Trend in an interview.
According to him, that, of course, has had a direct and immediate positive impact on tourism, but it has also been an important positive signal for foreign investors.
Since late 2016, the economic and political development of Uzbekistan has been tied to the Governments’ National Action Strategy for 2017-2020, a major document setting OSCE reform priorities across Government and society that are aligned closely with OSCE commitments.
“I find that it’s helpful to try and put a bit of historic perspective on what has been achieved. All of us who have been resident in Uzbekistan over these past four years need to think back to the conditions and situation in late 2016 and recall just how much progress has been made in all aspects of our lives. Certainly, the economic indicators have moved in a very positive direction,” stated OSCE Project Co-Ordinator.
He stressed the fact that the World Bank recently predicted that of all OSCE participating States, only Uzbekistan is expected to experience an increase in GDP for 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
MacGregor believes that this resiliency is an extraordinary testament to just how much progress has been made on all the factors that contribute to sustainable economic development.
“Foreign direct investors look at many factors when looking for safe places to invest, particularly including Rule of Law and the Justice sector along with freedom of expression. Much progress has been made in those areas too. There has been increased contribution of women and youth to the economy, to government, and society as a whole,” he said.
MacGregor gave an example that 36 percent of parliamentarians most recently elected to Uzbekistan’s Parliament (Oliy Majlis) are women, much higher than the worldwide average; and six percent are youth, about three times the worldwide average.
Moreover, according to him the recent Samarkand Human Rights Web-Forum that promoted the President’s initiative for a UN Convention on Youth Rights is an excellent example of Uzbekistan’s increasing worldwide leadership and the ‘virtual cabinet’ mechanism for online submissions of concerns and complaints and the peoples’ reception centers are additional examples of Uzbekistan initiatives that are examples of good practices worldwide.
“Of course, there are still many areas of the OSCE commitment-related National Action Strategy for 2017-2021 that still need additional attention and the reforms are continuing. But, in historical context, what has been achieved in the past four years in quite singular among OSCE participating States, and the staff of the Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan have been proud to be able to contribute to joint projects that advance the Action Strategy reforms,” said OSCE Project Co-Ordinator in Uzbekistan, John MacGregor.
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