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Shavkat Mirziyóyev’s leadership in Uzbekistan: Balancing economic development and political challenges

Shavkat Mirziyóyev, the President of Uzbekistan, is prioritizing economic growth while dealing with political obstacles.

He aims to attract foreign investment, enhance business relations, and combat fundamentalism, separatism, and dissent.

Mirziyóyev, aged 66, won a majority in the recent elections, securing his third term in office.

Following his predecessor’s pragmatic leadership style, he cracks down on political dissidents, leading to political prisoners but also focuses on improving the business environment.

Recognizing the importance of economic growth for the discontented youth, Mirziyóyev aims to double Uzbekistan’s GDP to US$160 billion and increase per capita income to US$4,000.

Shavkat Mirziyóyev. (Photo Internet reproduction)
Shavkat Mirziyóyev. (Photo Internet reproduction)

He plans to construct schools for 2.5 million individuals and seeks investments to develop transportation infrastructure along the Silk Road.

Mirziyóyev has gained support from the US and the EU by avoiding support for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine and assisting Moscow with Western sanctions.

With US$115 billion in foreign investment projects, he aims to increase the production of precious metals and minerals, opening up opportunities for international partnerships.

Uzbekistan maintains a favorable relationship with Russia while seeking commercial contracts in potential gas partnerships.

Mirziyóyev demonstrates diplomatic skills in Afghanistan, addressing concerns of the Tajik minority and collaborating on joint projects, including a railway network to Pakistan.

Despite promises of change, political opposition and press freedom remain restricted.

Opposition candidates were absent in recent elections, and journalists raised concerns about press freedom.

In 2022, protests erupted in Karakalpakistan due to proposed constitutional reforms, highlighting the challenge of managing separatist sentiment in the region.

The future stability of Uzbekistan depends on Mirziyóyev’s ability to address separatism, maintain economic growth, and navigate political challenges.

His pragmatic leadership and focus on foreign investment are central to the country’s development efforts.

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