A New Dawn: The Remarkable Transformation of Uzbekistan

As we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, it’s crucial to reflect on the monumental strides the nation has taken. Under the guiding principle “For a New Life, For a New Uzbekistan,” the country has undergone transformative changes that resonate not just within its borders but also on the global stage.

The Journey from Yesterday to Today

The years since independence have been a crucible of change, shaping a nation that has emerged stronger, more democratic, and increasingly aligned with global values. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Uzbekistan’s evolution, comparing the periods “Yesterday” (1991-2016) and “Today” (post-2016).

Labor Reforms: Eradicating Forced Labor

Then: Forced labor, particularly in the cotton industry, was a dark chapter in our history. Despite international conventions prohibiting such practices, Uzbekistan faced a 12-year boycott led by human rights activists.

Now: Thanks to decisive actions since 2017, the international coalition “Cotton Campaign” lifted the boycott on March 10, 2022. The new Constitution now explicitly prohibits forced labor, marking a significant win for human rights.

Addressing Poverty: A Transparent Approach

Then: The issue of poverty was often swept under the rug, masked by euphemisms like “needy” or “underprivileged.”

Now: The government has courageously acknowledged the poverty crisis. Comprehensive economic and social measures are being implemented, reducing the poverty rate from 17% to 14% in just one year.

Industrial Advancements: A Paradigm Shift

Then: The industrial sector lagged, contributing only 19.5% to the GDP in 2016.

Now: A focus on industrialization has led to a GDP exceeding $80 billion, with the industrial sector accounting for 26.7%.

Freedom of Movement: Breaking Down Barriers

Then: Strict passport controls restricted movement within the country, causing social unrest.

Now: These checkpoints have been abolished, fostering a climate of trust between the authorities and the populace.

Financial Reforms: Empowering the People

Then: Cashing out money was a significant hurdle, affecting everyday transactions.

Now: Reforms in monetary policy have made financial transactions seamless, bolstering public confidence.

Social Welfare: A Renewed Focus

Then: Despite various programs, poverty levels rose, and social discontent festered.

Now: About 50% of the state budget is now allocated to social welfare, benefiting over 2 million families.

Open Borders: Fostering Regional Harmony

Then: Closed borders with neighboring countries led to heartbreaking family separations.

Now: Initiatives have opened 17 checkpoints with Tajikistan alone, enhancing regional cooperation.

Housing: A National Priority

Then: Housing was scarce, with only 1,287 apartment buildings built in Tashkent between 1991-2016.

Now: In the last six years, 300,000 houses have been constructed, making housing a reality for many.

Cultural and Educational Renaissance

Then: The education and cultural sectors were plagued by outdated policies and lack of focus.

Now: Laws have been enacted to modernize these sectors, and significant investments have been made, including the establishment of 65 non-state higher education institutions.

Conclusion

The transformation of Uzbekistan is not just a series of policy shifts; it’s a renaissance, a rebirth of a nation committed to the welfare of its people and its place in the global community. Indeed, the journey towards a “New Uzbekistan” is a testament to the indomitable spirit of its people and the visionary leadership steering the nation towards a brighter future.


By Dr. Abdukhalil Mavrulov, Professor of History

Published On: July 27, 2023Views: 68