Uzbekistan’s reforms: Opening a new era in Central Asia?

Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has set out on ambitious reforms that could strengthen the country’s economy and bolster its significance in the region (source: dpa)
  • Uzbekistan’s new president has introduced some significant reforms.
  • They aim to open the country to the world and transform the relationship between the state and society
  • The reforms have injected a dynamism into Central Asia that had previously mainly been confined to Kazakhstan
  • The reforms could limit Russian influence in the region, or lead to more terrorist attacks

Since the autumn of 2016, Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most geopolitically significant country, has introduced far-reaching reforms. After the death of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s only president since independence in 1991, Shavkat Mirziyoyev won a December 2016 presidential election. A former prime minister for 13 years, Mr. Mirziyoyev quickly embarked on a program to modernize the country in areas ranging from foreign policy and economic governance to the judicial system, civil society and religious affairs.

With the agenda still in its infancy, challenges at home and abroad could stand in the way of more progress. But it has already yielded results, improving regional cooperation, business activity and the lives of ordinary Uzbekistani citizens.

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