UZBEKISTAN OCCUPIES a geographically and politically pivotal position in Central Asia, so its own political stability has been of immense importance. It also has a significant role to play in the battles against both terrorism and drugs in the region. Above all, as a neighbour of Afghanistan it will be a key future player in maintaining regional stability and helping the country to reach a new equilibrium as the international coalition winds down its combat role. This month, Diplomat worked closely with the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London, and the country’s Ambassador, Otabek Akbarov, to compile a comprehensive report, ‘Uzbekistan: Crossroads of a New Asia.’
This Diplomat report has contributions from a number of distinguished individuals, including the Chairman of the Britain-Uzbekistan All-Party Parliamentary Group, Lord Waverley, Co-Chair of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council, Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP, and President of the British-Uzbek Society, Lord Ponsonby.
In recent years, Uzbekistan’s economy has shown a high growth rate, proving its resilience in the face of the international financial crisis. Indeed, HSBC’s Global Research Department published a report entitled ‘The World in 2050,’ in which uzbekistan was placed in 11th place among the 26 fastest growing countries in the world. it predicted that by 2050 uzbekistan could become the world’s 51st largest economy, with a gdP of us$314 billion.
to make these figures become a reality, uzbekistan’s government is working hard to attract foreign investment. This month, london sees the 20th annual meeting of the uzbek-British trade and industry Council (uBtiC) that promises to attract greater involvement by British companies and a level of bilateral trade in goods and services to our mutual benefit.
investment than citing examples of already existing successful international collaboration, and so we include contributions from rio tinto, British american tobacco and tethys Petroleum.
a burgeoning young and well-trained population, combined with natural resources, gives uzbekistan a special advantage as an investment destination closely connected with China, russia and india. But investment in the younger generation is an essential part of any collaboration: Diplomat hears about the work of The British Council, the Cambridge-Central asia forum and Westminster international university in tashkent.
Closer to home, Diplomat delves into london’s latest property trend, exploring the transition of diplomatic missions from Mayfair to Battersea. in centuries gone by, it was vital for foreign governments to announce their importance by housing their embassies inside majestic, historic buildings with an address of matching prestige. such competition for opulence, however, has now been trumped by the cost-conscious concerns of modern governments. Diplomat also speaks with fCo Minister of state, hugo swire, about Britain’s overseas expansion and the recent opening of embassies in El salvador, haiti and Paraguay.
This month, Diplomat looks at art as a tool for diplomacy. hilary Clinton recently highlighted that art’s value is that it reaches beyond governments, helping us connect with more people in more places. historically, painters themselves were often afforded diplomatic status – the access and rapport developed with wealthy commissioners allowed them to bridge gaps between the powerful. art itself was used to gain favour: king francis i of france, for example, received portraits by raphael as ‘diplomatic gifts’ from the Pope. More mysteriously, many late-renaissance works – particularly those of leonardo da vinci and Jan van Eyck – are said to contain secret diplomatic messages of peace.
as always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of st James’s, this month meeting with the ambassadors of albania, Belarus and Egypt. We also photographed the ambassador of Thailand for our Portrait page.
in the lifestyle section, Diplomat enjoys dinner and legendary views at aqua shard. readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including details of this month’s intriguing taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the national Portrait gallery.