President of Germany Visit to Uzbekistan
A sign of more intensive cooperation in business and cultureJune 19th, 2019
The German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier accompanied by his wife Elke Büdenbender and a business delegation visited the Republic of Uzbekistan from 27 to 29 May. This was preceded by a visit to Germany by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev from 21 to 22 January this year in Berlin and Munich at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The military honorary reception was followed by a visit to the Uzbekistan Independence Monument in Tashkent.
The German head of state was accompanied by a 20-member business delegation, in which u.a. the companies Linde, MAN, Claas, VW, Integra, Siemens, Veridos, Mangold Consulting, German cable as well as the German railway were represented. In addition, talks were held with representatives of civil society and intellectuals. A visit to the historic city of Khiva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was also part of the program of the Federal President, who had already visited Uzbekistan as foreign minister in 2006.
The strengthening of bilateral economic and cultural relations was discussed as well as increased cooperation at the multilateral level, with regard to the security situation in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The reforms that affect social life in Uzbekistan are also strongly supported by the German side. In particular, the construction industry, health care, agriculture, logistics, tourism and the chemical industry were the focus of the bilateral roundtable on economic issues.
In the midst of the historic as well as the "new" Silk Road, there are further business potentials for German companies in the direction of the Far East. In mid-May, an internship program for Uzbek university graduates in Germany was initiated with the support of the East Committee - East European Association of German Business. Already 13 young Uzbeks are participating in this program. In addition, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has assured funds of €123.8 million for projects in Uzbekistan for the next two years.
The central importance of the visit is the support of Germany for the reform course of President Mirziyoyev begun at the end of December 2016 by means of concrete agreements concluded in this context. In the medium term, Uzbekistan has the potential to become Germany's largest trading partner in Central Asia as the largest market with 32 million inhabitants. Building on the already deepened economic cooperation, civil society and scientific initiatives such as university and town twinning can be intensified or newly initiated. With a view to the political implementation of the new EU-Central Asia strategy, Germany is also sending a clear signal for increased strategic importance of Uzbekistan in terms of stability and socio-economic development in Central Asia. And perhaps the efforts of Uzbekistan, which are already generating initial success, will also be a model for other countries in the region.