Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the United States Muktar Djumaliev, discusses Kyrgyz economics and the current political climate of Kyrgyzstan.
href=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/rumiforum/Ambassador_Muktar_Djumaliev.mp3″ target=”_blank”>Listen Podcast
The Ambassador starts the discussion by explaining Kyrgyz exports, main trading partners, and untapped resources. With regard to Kyrgyz imports and exports, Mr. Djumaliev acknowledges that the situation is less than ideal right now, describing the country as having “a negative trade balance”. Kyrgyzstan currently exports about 1.5 million US dollars worth of goods every year, but imports around 6.5 million. Kyrgyzstan joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but despite this has not succeeded in closing the gap between its exports and imports. Of the few that it has, most Kyrgyz exports are agricultural products and textiles, 60% of which are sold to Russia and Kazakhstan. However, the Ambassador points out that due to Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous terrain and many rivers, hydroelectric power has huge potential as a burgeoning industry within the country. This is especially true because Kyrgyzstan borders China’s rural Xinjiang province, a region that is very underdeveloped compared to the rest of China. Kyrgyzstan could therefore sell the energy to Chinese citizens, simultaneously expanding their market and gaining a new business partner. In order to make all this possible however, Kyrgyzstan requires an investor to lay down the initial capital to build the dams. “I am working really hard to attract american investors in the hydro sector,” says the Ambassador. He states that the project, dubbed “Castle 1000”, is projected to cost about 1.5 billion US dollars. He hopes that such investment from the United States would also help found a lasting business partnership between the US and Kyrgyzstan. In addition to hydroelectric power, Kyrgyzstan is currently exploring for rare earth metals, another sector in which China has expressed profound interest over the past few years. At this point in the discussion Mr. Djumaliev turns the conversation to political institutions, and explains some of the challenges that Kyrgyzstan has faced in recent years with regard to these institutions. He briefly reviews the events that occurred 2005, and again in 2010, when Kyrgyz citizens revolted against the hereditary system of leadership, demonstrating in favor of a more democratic system. The result of these revolts is that Kyrgyzstan is now under the control of a parliamentary system. Under this more democratic government, if Kyrgyzstan can find investors to kickstart their hydroelectric and rare earth metal ambitions then it is looking at a bright future.We dont have any oil or gas in kyrgyzstan but we have rich water sources. Mr. Djumaliev points out that currently 60% of Kyrgyzstan’s trade is with Russia and Kazakhstan. Main trading partners: Russia and Kazakhstan(60%) Uzbekistan and China are other big two. Want more of a market in Europe. Joined WTO in 1996 after applying in 1994. Import 3X higher than export. Negative trade balance. Export 1.5 mil, Import 6.5 mil. Trying to reach out to US to export agricultural products and textiles. 99% of Kyrgyzstan is mountains, so no oil, but lots of water, lending itself to hydroelectric power. Looking for US funding on hydroelectric projects. Trying to sell energy to China. Exploring for rare earth metals. Europe interested in investing in tourism in Kyrgyzstan. Talks about history of Kyrgyz politics. 2 revolutions in 2005 and 2010. Revolution because people did not want the “family clan” system of government (hereditary). 2002 started working on ways to build a democratic society and build economy.
Muktar Djumaliev became Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the United States in December 2010.
Born on June 22, 1972, Djumaliev earned an undergraduate economics degree from the National University of the Kyrgyz Republic in 1994, and three years later, he earned his law degree.
Djumaliev began his career in the Department of External Economic Relations of the State Committee on Economy. In 1996 he served as an advisor to the minister of finance. The following year he was put in charge of the Department of External Economic Relations, but then he was transferred to the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic, where he worked as deputy director on Investments and Coordination of Technical Assistance.
In 1998, he was appointed first secretary of the Kyrgyzstan’s mission to the United Nations office in Geneva.
In 2001-2002 he studied international law and economics at the World Trade Institute at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
In 2003, Djumaliev served as an expert in President Askar Akayev’s Economic Policy Department and he worked as first deputy to the minister of foreign trade and industry.
In 2004, Djumaliev took over as Kyrgyzstan’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. That same year he became ambassador to Switzerland. He then served as his nation’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
Before taking over as ambassador to the U.S., Djumaliev served as first deputy chief to President Roza Otunbayeva from June to December 2010. In addition to serving as ambassador to the U.S., in May 2011, he presented his credentials as the Kyrgyz ambassador to Canada.