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Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country, comprising nearly half the region's total

07.12.18 19:51
According to G&T, Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country, comprising nearly half the region's total. It is one of only two double-landlocked countries in the world and has a land area of approximately 448,000 km2 – about the size of California or Spain and twice as large as the UK or Romania. It borders the other four landlocked Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) and shares a short border with Afghanistan. With a population of 32 million – of whom almost a third are under the age of 14 – the labor force is expected to continue growing until 2050. 

Uzbekistan is 9th-largest gold-producing country globally with an abundance of other natural endowments also. Its Muruntau mine is one of the largest open-pit gold mines in the world. Production of 85 tons of gold annually makes the commodity the economy’s top foreign-currency earner. The country has over 1,800 mineral reserves with substantial deposits of gold (10th globally), copper (10th globally), uranium (16th globally), natural gas (24th globally), and coal (29th globally). Uzbekistan is the world’s 8th-largest cotton producer out of 90 cotton-growing countries and the 12th-largest cotton exporter worldwide.

Cotton production and exports have a long history in Uzbekistan, and there is considerable potential to improve productivity in this sector. Despite abundant natural resources and unprecedented growth, Uzbekistan remains one of the lowest-income countries in the world. The economy experienced the lowest contraction among its peers after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and managed to increase nominal GDP by 19x to US$ 67.1bn over 1992-2016. Growth was financed from increased revenues from energy, gold and other minerals exports. However, this was not sufficient to lift the population’s living standards with per capita GDP at US$ 2,124 in 2016 – one of the lowest globally, albeit up from US$ 167 in 1992.

Source: G&T