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About Uzbekistan

The Republic of Uzbekistan became a full-fledged member of the United Nations Organization on the 2nd of March. Upon becoming a member, Uzbekistan has enjoyed recognition by the international community as an independent republic. At present, eight UN agencies operate in Uzbekistan. The aim of the UN System in Uzbekistan is to assist the Government in implementing development reforms, while providing support for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This website provides the main information concerning the UN System activities in Uzbekistan. You will find that a substantial part of the website is devoted to Millennium Development Goals, and we urge you to take an opportunity to learn more about the status of MDGs in Uzbekistan. You are welcome to offer your perspectives and suggestions by contacting us.

  

The full name: The Republic of Uzbekistan

Independence: Uzbekistan declared independence on the 31st of August,1991

The national holiday: Independence Day is celebrated on the 1st of September

President: Mr. Islam Karimov

Prime Minister: Mr.Shavkat Mirziyaev

Cabinet: The highest legislative power belongs to bicameral parliament, the Oliy Majlis and the Senates

Capital: Tashkent

Total Area: 448,900 sq.km (only 11% contains arable land)

Population: 26.5 million (2006)

Neighbours: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Uzbekistan is one of the only two double landlocked countries in the world.

Religion: Predominantly Islam 88% (Sunni)

Languages: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%

Monetary unit: Uzbekistan Soum

Female Life Expectancy: 74.4 years

Male Life Expectancy: 70.5 years

 

Uzbekistan is a landlocked country stretching 1500 km west-to-east and 1000 km north-to-south, sharing borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The climate is continental and relatively dry, with low rainfall, long hot summers and mild winters. The country has significant reserves of natural resources, including large deposits of gold, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, natural gas and oil. It has the largest population of the five Central Asian Republics, recorded at 25.5 million in 2003. 77.2% of the population are Uzbek, while the remainder are Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Karakalpaks and Tatars. Of the total population, 15.3 million live in rural areas, and 9.2 million live in urban areas.

Uzbekistan’s economy is influenced by its geography. The country is situated in the basin of two main rivers: the Amudarya, which runs from Tajikistan and serves as Uzbekistan’s border with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, and the Syrdarya which flows through Kazakhstan. The agricultural sector is extremely important to the Uzbek economy. The country is one of the world's largest cotton producers, with cotton being one of its primary export earners. Other significant agricultural products include raw silk, fruits, vegetables, grapes, melons, significant quantities of which are exported to neighbouring countries.

The country’s east contains the fertile Ferghana Valley region, which is densely populated. This region contains much of the country’s industrial base, developed during the central planning era and after Uzbekistan’s independence. The Ferghana Valley, with its long history of irrigated agriculture, produces a significant proportion of Uzbekistan’s agricultural output. To the South, Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya are strongly agricultural regions, though the latter is increasing its gas production. The nation’s western regions are mainly industrial, with mining, chemical industries and oil refineries, while Bukhara and Samarkand are tourist centres of world-wide importance. The large and sparsely populated Karakalpakstan autonomous region to the North West of the country is arid, and contains little industrial activity. Both industry and agriculture in Karakalpakstan have been negatively affected by the Aral Sea disaster.

Since Uzbekistan’s independence, the Uzbek Government’s economic policies have been protectionist to a large extent. This resulted in long-term non-convertibility of the Uzbek Soum, although this has changed to some extent since the introduction of convertibility in October 2003, and the reliance on cotton as a major foreign exchange earner.

Economic reform in Uzbekistan has been gradual. A step-by-step approach has been used to achieve:

Economic independence, by way of curtailing imports through their replacement and self-sufficiency with energy resources and food products;

  1. The re-orientation of the economy, from the production of raw materials to the creation of a competitive industrial structure;
  2. The expansion of Uzbekistan’s export potential, while increasing its gold and hard currency reserves to ensure the stability of the national currency;
  3. The creation of new opportunities and the improvement of living standards;

The state has a sizable role in the economy until this day, although this role continues to decline.The share of the non-state sector in the nation’s GDP in 2001 was 74.1%, but this figure has varied from sector to sector. For instance, 99% of the nation’s GDP was spent in agriculture, while 59.4% was spent in services rendered to the population). The state still exercises a fair degree of control over the non-state sector. For example, the major part of agricultural production still depends directly on government targets for cotton and grain.

While achievements have been made in maintaining political and economic stability, problems have emerged in Uzbekistan transitional period. These include a decline in living standards, growing unemployment, and an increasing gap between the poor and the rich.

With a human development index (HDI) of 0.694 in 2003, Uzbekistan ranks 111 out of 177 countries in accordance with the Human Development Report 2005. The country’s HDI scores and overall rating have remained stable over the years since independence. Disparities between regions and rural-urban areas have become more apparent, with the strongest indicator of vulnerability to poverty being the location in which residents live. 64% of Uzbekistan’s population live in rural areas, 35% of which are likely to be poor.

The painful process of transition has had a drastic influence on the population’s vulnerable groups, including young families, the unemployed, families with many children, female-headed households, pensioners, invalids and the youth. This influence has resulted in a reduction of the consumer basket, available medical services, access to school and after-school education, access to energy supplies including gas and coal, and access to infrastructure and transport services. Even a relatively-generous government welfare system has not been able to stem the negative impact brought about by transition.

The process of transition continues to be a defining feature of Uzbekistan's development. However, in the matter of macroeconomic stability, there is a need to focus efforts on improving the population’s living conditions.