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Investors, Look East?

After the peaceful 1991 collapse of the USSR foreigner investors flooded into the former Soviet Union, seeking deals. The majority of foreign capital was directed at the post-Soviet space's hydrocarbon assets and largely centered on the Caspian, especially in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. During the period 1991-2011 Azerbaijan has attracted more than $60 billion in FDI and its northern Caspian neighbor, Kazakhstan, more than $120 billion.

Uzbekistan during the same period has had a more modest FDI inflow, estimated at around $10 billion, but that it about to change as Tashkent aggressively markets itself to the global financial community.

Last December in London at the 17th session of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade Elyor Ganyev told his audience that Uzbekistan plans to attract over $50 billion of foreign investment in next five years in over 500 projects. For steely-nerved investors the potential opportunities are significant.

There is certainly much to tempt the adventurous investor - Uzbekistan is the third largest natural gas producer in the former USSR after the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan and is one of the top ten natural gas-producing countries in the world, with proven natural gas reserves of 1.58 trillion cubic meters. Although its current oil production is consumed indigenously, Uzbekistan also contains around 594 million barrels of proven…

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