Uzbekistan was strongly influenced by the USSR and did not let go of the Soviet past for a long time. Islam Karimov, the country’s former leader, was focused on maintaining the status quo. He limited international contacts and supported the command economy introduced under the Union. The situation was changed by Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Mirziyoyev became president in 2016 after the death of the previous head of state from old age. The presidential term in Uzbekistan is 7 years. In July 2023, early elections were held. The president won them with 87% of the electorate.
Experts see the reason for popular support in the activities of Mirziyoyev. He showed himself to be a modern person oriented towards liberal values, improved the economic situation in Uzbekistan and raised the standard of living.
First term reforms
The president began his board by eliminating current problems. Mirziyoyev saw them in the absence of foreign contacts, the command economy, the existence of forced labor. Modern Uzbekistan is a state with an open market economy, actively cooperating with foreign partners. The share of exports is constantly growing, and investments from foreign entrepreneurs make it possible to improve the existing infrastructure.
Mirziyoyev paid much attention to the legal life of citizens. The Uzbeks received a full set of rights and freedoms, not inferior to their counterparts from the European Union. Political prisoners were released and forced labor was banned. In order to respond more quickly to violations, the president opened additional channels of communication with citizens using the Internet.
The activity of the head of state is also aimed at combating bureaucracy and corruption. The bureaucracy was significantly reduced. Many officials went to the dock for bribes and embezzlement. Local governments have received more powers. The bureaucracy was also reduced by the permission to exchange the national currency sum for foreign money.
According to the World Bank, Uzbekistan is still in need of reforms. If the previous course is maintained (the president promises this), sustainable economic growth and an increase in living standards are expected to continue. Particular attention should be paid to the development of the private sector and the increase in the number of jobs. It is also worth reducing the role of the state in key industries.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev relies on studies suggesting that the population of Uzbekistan will grow to 40 million by 2030. In this regard, the construction of hospitals, schools, kindergartens and other key infrastructure facilities has already begun. Much is being done through foreign and private investment. The plans also include the development of energy and increased attention to environmental issues.
The president expects exports to reach $45 billion by 2030 and the economy itself to double in size.