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INFORMATION DIGEST No. 49

March 10, 2017

ECONOMY
Over 330 automatic compressor gas stations will be built in Uzbekistan by the end of 2020

About 550 CNG stations function across the country today. By the end of the current year, their number will reach 600.

Cooperation on the establishment of gas stations with Chinese investors ranks among the missions. There are the agreements, under which the Chinese side is ready to build about 60 CNG stations in Uzbekistan. There is currently certainty on 10 gas stations, three of which have already been constructed, two are currently in the process of construction, and five will come later. The Chinese side delivers equipment, and Uzbekistan will provide all construction and installation works.

For a certain period of time, the Chinese investors will study the benefits from the first gas stations they had built in Uzbekistan. Upon the completion of the study it will be decided on the follow up construction of other CNG stations.

Uzbekistan is currently implementing a major program on shifting public transport, private vehicles, as well as the fleet of public institutions to the natural gas consumption instead of petrol. Several joint ventures were established with South Korean, Chinese and Italian companies that specialize in relevant equipment. Moreover, GM Uzbekistan has already launched the production of its own models equipped with gas system.

Another function of Uztransgaz Company comes to an uninterrupted gas supply to the population. In order to avoid interruptions in the gas supply, 68.6 km of gas pipelines was repaired, and 171.9 km of gas communications was reconstructed. Specialists carried out leak and blowdown tests on 7,200 km of the pipeline, checked the state of 5,600 km of underground pipeline, and inspected nearly 70,500 gas distribution points.

Today, this kind of natural gas is supplied to 2.5 million apartments. Services are provided by more than 60 filling stations and points, and gas cylinders are distributed by over 200 service centers. 237 tank wagons and nearly 90 road tankers are involved in the transportation of liquefied natural gas to the destination.

As reported by representatives of the sector, 20 additional filling points were commissioned and almost 528,000 gas cylinders were delivered to the population last year across the republic. The industry procured new domestic specialized vehicles, namely - two MAN propane trucks and 32 specialized vehicles by Isuzu.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

INFRASTRUCTURE
In 2016, Uzbekistan Railways transported over 21.1 million passengers, which is 4% more YOY

In 2016, the company transported 68 million tons of cargo, and provided export services for $369 million.

“As part of the investment program, we spent $821.1 million, exceeding the targets by 3%. The list of the largest projects includes the construction of 123.2 km of electrified railway Angren - Pap and 19.2 km of Kamchik Pass. Freight traffic was launched on the new line on June 11, and the first passenger tour took place late August,” said Uzbekistan Railways Chief Engineer Husnitdin Hosilov.

Today, two pairs of rolling stock ply daily on the route Tashkent - Andijan - Tashkent. Apart from that, as Hosilov noted, trains run on Andijan - Bukhara - Andijan route (twice a week), Andijan - Urgench - Andijan (once), Andijan - Moscow - Andijan (once). More than 15 freight trains carry a variety of goods per day on the new railway.

There is good news in the railway sector: it is planned to launch a new line Urgench - Khiva by the end of the current year. The length of the new railway line, which will connect the administrative center of Khorezm region and the world-famous open air museum city - Khiva, will be about 30 km.

“In late January, the leader of Uzbekistan visited the Khorezm region and initiated the construction of this line. The very next day after the assignment of the state’s leader, the region was visited by a working group of experts, and two design institutes of Uzbekistan Railways system embarked on drafting the railway line. The machinery started working three days after that,” Hosilov said.

The project also envisages the construction of a modern railway station in Khiva, which will take into account modern architectural solutions and an ancient spirit, the style of the city-museum. The line will be electrified to receive modern high-speed Spanish Talgo trains in the future. Experts say that the launch of the line will scale up the capacity of passenger and freight traffic in the region and help to increase the tourist flow.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
A friend in need is a friend indeed

At the beginning of the year 2017, there was too much precipitation in Tajikistan. As a result of very much snowfall in mountainous areas of that country in January-February this year, large avalanches occurred. There were more than 500 such occurrences in the territory of that country. Unfortunately, the natural disaster not only caused economic losses but also led to casualties.

Uzbekistan, which is a close neighbour of Tajikistan and a brotherly country, was among the first to respond to an appeal for help from that country’s government in dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster.

In a short space of time, more than 60 tonnes of humanitarian aid items were put together and sent to Tajikistan in accordance with an instruction from President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

At dawn on 7 March, lorries carrying this humanitarian aid consisting of foodstuffs, medicines and medical-purpose goods, building materials, coal, warm clothes and other essentials reached Sukhondaryo Region’s Uzun District that borders on Tajikistan.

There representatives of the Uzun District hokimiyat (governorate), employees of educational establishments, young people and veterans met the delegation bringing the humanitarian supplies, led by Komil Aripov, the first deputy minister of emergency situations.

They said that Uzbekistan’s leadership made a decision in a timely manner to provide this humanitarian aid to the neighbouring country. They praised this initiative and said bon voyage to the delegation’s members.

The Uzbek delegation crossed through the “Sariosiyo” border checkpoint into the Tajik border town of Tursunzoda. There the chairman of the emergency situations committee of Tajikistan, R.Nazarzoda; representatives of a number of ministries and departments of that county, and Sh.Shoislomov, the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Uzbekistan to Tajikistan, met the delegation. Relevant documents were drawn up, and the convoy of lorries carrying humanitarian cargoes headed for the capital city Dushanbe.

The humanitarian cargoes from Uzbekistan were delivered to Tajikistan’s state acquisitions storage facility in Dushanbe. A briefing was held for journalists there.

The delegation’s leader, Komil Aripov, the first deputy minister of Uzbekistan’s ministry of emergency situations, spoke to representatives of mass media and said that it was not the first time that Uzbekistan had provided humanitarian aid to the neighbouring country in a difficult situation and that a few years ago, Uzbekistan also supplied Tajikistan with building materials, medicines, foodstuffs and other goods. As K.Aripov said, this indicates that Uzbekistan is always ready to give a helping hand to its neighbours in the region.

R.Nazarzoda, the chairman of the emergency situations committee of the Republic of Tajikistan, said for his part that Dushanbe had appealed to a number of countries in the region and international organizations for humanitarian help. According to information from him, Uzbekistan is among the first to give a helping hand to its neighbour.

“On behalf of the government of Tajikistan, I express gratitude to the government of Uzbekistan for this help provided in a timely manner. Due to efforts of Uzbekistan’s ministry of emergency situations and other departments the humanitarian cargoes were delivered to Tajikistan on time. Many thanks to you, dear Uzbek friends!” R.Nazarzoda said in a statement.

Uzbekistan’s representatives successfully carried out this responsible task of humanitarian aid delivery, and they returned to the Motherland, feeling proud of their efforts. Feelings of joy and gratitude could be seen on the faces of those Tajiks. Their close neighbour will not forsake them in a time of need. This clearly shows that Uzbekistan conducts a policy of good neighbourliness in Central Asia.
(Source: UzA-Jahon IA)

SCIENCE
“Competition in Science Just Like in Sports”

Our guest today is the young scientist Raufkhon Salahodjaev who has made it to be named one of the world’s best young economists over the past five years.

The news of his inclusion in the list of top hundred young economics scientists of the world urged the UT to acquaint the readers with the Uzbek who has glorified his homeland.

“Please tell us a bit about yourself.”

“I was born in the town of Kasansay, Namangan region, in 1987. I obtained the first higher education in Tashkent Institute of Finance majoring in Finances and Economics. A year later, I won an Edmund Muskie scholarship, often referred to as the Fulbright Fellowship, and earned master's degree in economics at the New York State University.

If you ask about me from my teachers in the Institute of Finance, many of them probably will tell you that I was mediocre, and furthermore, it would seem incredible for them to learn about my inclusion in the list of a hundred best young scientists and economists in the world. Because I was an average student who, like everyone else, wanted more spare time for other activities. I did not have a clue that I will ever do science.

“What is the topic of your thesis?”

“It was on the study of the impact of US healthcare compensation programs on the duration of work-related injuries. For American students it is a common theme.”

“But very unusual and sensational was the news of your inclusion in the top list of RePEc. What are its selection criteria?”

“Science is an area where, just like in sports, there is competition. Accordingly, there has been a need in rankings. The latter is a term referred to in sorting sites in the search results used in search engines.

“This is done in order to make sure that the quantity did not prevail over quality, but that the quality and quantity equally dominated over other aspects. Well, there was a demand for the ranking of the countries, universities and scientists by sphere, age and gender. Given the number of issued magazines around the world, the activities of economists is very difficult to monitor. And the question is as to what journal or other outlet your articles are published. It's one thing if you have published in the journal where 30 articles compete for one space, and totally other thing if the periodical has a competition one by one. This is dealt with by Thomson Reuters, who has created her own so-called "impact factor", which is considered a benchmark in the world of science. It determines the prestige of the journal. It is very difficult to get into the rating of Thomson Reuters as publications are subject to rigorous screening. But if a scientist publishes his/her piece in the selected edition, they can greatly enhance their credibility on the world stage.

In the US Federal Bank of St. Louis there is an economic research department, which tracks not only publications, but also scientists whose work is published there, who are the most quoted and downloaded. And on this basis, they form a list of the best economists. That is a complex, multi-step process.”

“What area of economics is explored in your publications?”

“There is a stereotypical view that economics is the study of a country or a phenomenon, but the Western scientific school has a different approach. There economics is not limited to studying only something practical, and often in order for your article to be published in a prestigious journal, on the contrary, you have to ignore practice and engage in theory. For example, you do not just study inflation, and may have found an explanation to existing phenomena and events in the world from an entirely new perspective. In this sense, some of my articles are not applicable today, because I'm doing a new trend – explanation of the current trends, such as income inequality around the world, with the position of evolutionary biology, psychology or geography. Many are now turning to me with a variety of issues, for example, to find answers to the problem of creating sustainable jobs and increasing exports. But I have to say that my research has developed in a completely different vein, and that is why I am published in leading academic journals.”

“It turns out that your works are at the junction of two sciences, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, in my works, the fundamental economics is closely intertwined with the theory of evolutionary processes. Therefore I doubt that, after reading my article, you can apply it right away to solve some urgent problems of our times. My works by and large cover s fundamental aspects for promoting understanding of the phenomena, but from another angle, in the light of the development of society throughout the world, in terms of biogeography.”
“Please be more specific.”

“I shall refer to the basics. Previously, economics used to be a pretty selfish science. If you listen to Western scholars, it becomes clear that many of the processes they tried to explain in the mathematical model developed by them. For example, if you published a few decades ago, then the economy was explained in terms of differential equations in a closed system. But over time, the researchers concluded that economic processes can not be studied within only one limited scope of this science. And the economy has come to be studied more widely.”

“Apparently, it is a trend now, and not only among economists. You've probably heard about the acclaimed book of contemporary Israeli writer, "A Brief History of Mankind", which attempts to cover everything that the beings of the species Homo sapiens have been engaged in since their inception and until the creation of computers?”

“In fact, the trend has become popular today to explain many of the problems, going back to ancient times – to 500 years, 1,000 and even 10,000 years back, and look, for example, the cause of income inequality is not in the current problems, and in processes that occured 10-20 thousand years ago. In particular, my research focuses on the new theory that a handful of people in the world are engaged in, together we began to implement it in economic thought. It's called "The theory of pathogenic stress" and shows the connection between the level of risk of infectious diseases in ancient times to the formation of society. That is, those countries where the risk was high became more closed, there was a team spirit, and the countries where these diseases are spared, for example, in North America, Europe, they developed more individualistic. Accordingly, different societies created different economic institutions for themselves. No one has tried to explain such processes thus far. For example, biologists have studied how parasites affect the development of society, but they do not project it on the economic processes. And we are trying to find the origins of many of today's problems in ancient times and show it mathematically in terms of world statistics. Given this innovative approach, many foreign editions are very sympathetic to our work. And most interesting is that our research is taken by the biologists with great pleasure, as we start it from their theories and project their findings on the economy.”

“You probably have plans for a doctoral thesis. What subject will you choose?”

“I can state with my hand on heart that in the next five years I intend to continue working in this direction. And because the life cycle of writing a research work is extended to two years, it turns out, if you defend a doctoral degree in a new direction, its peak of citation will be achieved only in 10-20 years.”

“Thank you for a fascinating conversation.”
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

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