The Kyrgyz Economy: Reforms Needed for Diversification and Productivity

May 15, 2012

BISHKEK, May 15, 2012 – The investment climate and other obstacles to the development of the private sector were the main topics of discussion at a roundtable organized jointly by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the World Bank today.

As requested by the Government, the World Bank’s Private Sector Development team, in coordination with involved state agencies, carried out a study, “Investment Climate in the Kyrgyz Republic: Reform Opportunities”, identifying areas of improvement in the investment climate of the country, and provided recommendations to address them.

The findings of this study, and other issues related to the development of the private sector, were presented during the round table with participation of high level officials, private sector representatives, and members of the donor community. The round table was co-chaired by Joomart Otorbaev, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Philippe Le Houérou, the WB Vice President for Europe and Central Asia.

“The World Bank supports the Kyrgyz government’s program to decisively implement reforms to transform the potential of the private sector into reality,” said Vice President Le Houérou at the round table.

There is still much room for the private sector to grow and provide jobs and economic growth.  For the private sector to serve this function, the main obstacles to its growth need to be addressed through a comprehensive private sector development strategy.

Economy-wide efforts to eliminate barriers for all enterprises should be complemented by removing industry-specific obstacles to enable the growth of promising sectors, and be also included in the short- and medium term Private Sector Development strategy. Some of the areas of improvement discussed during the round-table included the governance framework, firm productivity, access to skilled labor and finance, infrastructure, regional trade and investment links, the business legal framework, and the gap that exists between regulations and their implementation. 

The economic growth model in the Kyrgyz Republic is not sustainable in the long run, as it heavily relies on gold and remittances, and concentrated export markets for growth. To achieve sustainable growth, the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic needs to become both more productive and more diverse,” said Rachel (Raha) Shahidsaless, Private Sector Development Specialist, and the principal author of the WB study.

The World Bank acknowledged the Kyrgyz government’s commitment to reforms, as well as the initiatives undertaken and planned to remove obstacles to the development of the private sector.

The Bank expressed readiness to provide technical assistance to the government in designing a short- and medium term private sector development strategy that will be prepared and implemented in consultation and coordination with the public and private sector stakeholders, Kyrgyz experts, and the donor community.