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macrohistory & world report

Republic of Uzbekistan

Map of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan (in the middle, capital Tashkent) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country; 11% of the land is intensely cultivated, in irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of the population lives in densely populated rural communities. Export of hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas, provides a significant share of foreign exchange earnings. Other major export earners include gold and cotton. Despite ongoing efforts to diversify crops, Uzbekistani agriculture remains largely centered around cotton, although production has dropped by 35% since 1991. Uzbekistan is now the world's fifth largest cotton exporter and sixth largest producer. The country is addressing international criticism for the use of child labor in its cotton harvest. Following independence in September 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government still sponsors measures that often increase, not decrease, its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence. In 2003, the government accepted Article VIII obligations under the IMF, providing for full currency convertibility. However, strict currency controls and tightening of borders have lessened the effects of convertibility and have also led to some shortages that have further stifled economic activity. The Central Bank often delays or restricts convertibility, especially for consumer goods. Uzbekistan's growth has been driven primarily by state-led investments and a favorable export environment. In the past Uzbekistani authorities have accused US and other foreign companies operating in Uzbekistan of violating Uzbekistani laws and have frozen and even seized their assets. At the same time, the Uzbekistani Government has actively courted several major US and international corporations, offering financing and tax advantages. A major US automaker opened a powertrain manufacturing facility in Tashkent in November 2011, but there have been no sizable US investments since then. Diminishing foreign investment and difficulties transporting goods across borders further challenge the economy of Uzbekistan."

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Economic growth rate
2013: 7.0%
2012: 8.2%
2011: 8.3%

Labor force in agriculture
1995: 44%

Unemployment rate
2013: 4.9%
2011: 1%
2010: 1.1%

Public debt
2011: 7.7% of GDP

Export commodities
Energy products, cotton, gold, mineral fertilizers, ferrous and nonferrous metals, textiles, food products, machinery, automobiles

Export partners
2010: China 21.8%, Russia 18.1%, Turkey 14.5%, Kazakhstan 8.5%, Bangladesh 8.5% (2010)

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $13.8 billion, imports $8.65 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 81st among 141 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Corruption, Wikipedia as of November 2014: "Corruption in Uzbekistan remains a serious problem. There are laws in place to prevent corruption, but the enforcement is very weak." Its CPI score is 17, 168th out of 177, among the ten worst.

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 36%

Ethnic groups
1996: Uzbek 80%, Russian 5.5%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 3%, Karakalpak 2.5%, Tatar 1.5%, other 2.5%

Religions
Muslim 88% (mostly Sunni), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 2.65 persons per 1,000 population per year

Geography

North of Afghanistan. Landlocked. Slightly larger than California. Desert and semi-arid grassland in the east.

History and Government

Great ancient trade and cultural centers such as Bukhara and Samarkand flourished here, along the Silk Road between Asia and Europe. Conquered by Russia in the late 1800s and conquered again by the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s, it became a republic within the Soviet Union. Following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Uzbekistan became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, former republics within the Soviet Union that today are closely associated with Russia economically, in defense and foreign policy.

World Factbook: Russia conquered the territory of present-day Uzbekistan in the late 19th century... During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land degraded and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry."

The World Factbook in 2011 describes Uzbekistan as a "republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch".

Capital: Tashkent.

Recent History

Bomb blasts in Tashkent in 1999 killed more than twelve people. The government blamed Islamic extremists.

In 2004, more bombings and shootings by those called Muslim extremists killed dozens more.

There are Muslims in Uzbekistan who want Uzbekistan to be a part of a greater Muslim state that includes Kyrgyzstan and other neighboring predominately Muslim societies.

May 21, 2005: The media is controlled by the state, and central planning of the economy still exists.

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.