On 15 April 2021, the OECD organised the second capacity-building webinar for the government of Turkmenistan with a focus on investment as part of the EU Central Asia Invest initiative.
The event was an opportunity to build capabilities and share experiences to support ongoing and future reforms on the investment legislation and practices in Turkmenistan. The webinar was conducted as part of the OECD Policy Component of the EU Central Asia Invest initiative, with the capacity-building themes based on a recently released OECD report on the legal environment for business in the region. The event brought together senior policy-makers from Turkmenistan with experts from France and Uzbekistan.
Opening the session, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Rovshen Nuriagdyev underlined that attracting more – and better – foreign direct investment (FDI) was a key objective for the country, and that the event was a good opportunity to learn from the experience of OECD and regional partners. Ms Renata Wrobel of the European Union Delegation to Turkmenistan emphasised the importance of FDI as a driver of innovation and productivity, and therefore the relevance of the investment agenda to a wide range of the government’s policy areas, from diversification to digitalisation.
Mr Luke Mackle, Policy Analyst at the OECD Eurasia Division, presented an overview of the impact of the crisis on investment in Turkmenistan and in the global context, before outlining some of the key recommendations for Turkmenistan from the Improving the Legal Environment for Business in Central Asia report, including on digitalising and streamlining investment and business registration procedures. Complementing Mr Mackle’s presentation, Ms Amélie Schurich-Rey, Economist/Policy Analyst at the OECD Eurasia Division, introduced some findings from a recent OECD report on Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) practices in Eurasia, and discussed how the recommendations could be applied in Turkmenistan.
Mr Philippe Yvergniaux, Director of International Co-operation at Business France, led the first of two substantive capacity-building sessions. This first session was dedicated to France’s experience in setting up and running an investment promotion agency and outlining how the institution fits into the government’s broader investment strategy. Mr Yvergniaux also emphasised the importance of aftercare and creating a lasting relationship with investors.
Mr Alexey Sim of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, led the second capacity-building session, which focussed on Uzbekistan’s experience in addressing a number of long-standing issues in the country’s investment climate. Mr Sim noted that in addition to a general process of opening up – including with regional neighbours –some of the most important steps had been to improve public administration, ensure that investors have confidence in due process, and to liberalise the currency regime. Mr Sim also detailed a number of key legislative changes in areas such as land ownership and taxation and presented the new investment law passed by Uzbekistan.
Concluding the webinar, Deputy Minister Nuriagdyev thanked the EU and the OECD for the organisation of the event and for the participation of the various experts. He noted that the experience shared by Uzbekistan and France gave the ministry a number of examples upon which they would reflect, and that he looked forward to meeting in person soon.