The American Chamber of Commerce in the Kyrgyz Republic is a business association whose members are leading foreign and local companies. As in all countries where it operates, AmCham in Kyrgyzstan is an effective lobbying organisation which serves as a liaison between the government and the private sector and works to support its member companies and enhance the country’s business climate. In the past, AmCham provided the Kyrgyz government with recommendations to enhance the Kyrgyz national credit ranking, the export of Kyrgyz goods, taxation and labour legislation and the protection of property rights. Almaz Dushembiev, Executive Director, discusses AmCham’s activities and Kyrgyzstan’s investment attractions.
European Times: What are some of AmCham’s projects in Kyrgyzstan?
Almaz Dushembiev: One of our biggest projects is organising industry symposiums to connect local suppliers and producers with the U.S. trading partners. Another is a joint project with the Central European University. We held a regional seminar entitled ‘Leaders of Business on Integrity in Practice’ which brought together business leaders from all over central Asia to discuss issues of integrity in business. Some of the main themes were assessments of the current corporate sector, supporting ethical business practices and improving integrity cooperation in the region through education.
European Times: What are some investment opportunities in Kyrgyzstan today?
Almaz Dushembiev: The Kyrgyzstan government has been working hard to improve the business climate, including instituting legislation to protect investors. The government is also involved in the new Silk Road Project to connect all countries along the famous route by road and railway. Hydropower is one sector with enormous development potential, and a new grid is being planned to reduce the country’s dependence on its neighbours. Mining, textile, tourism and agriculture are the fastest-growing sectors today, and the government is issuing new exploration licenses, for example for gold and rare minerals. Concerning agriculture, Kyrgyzstan now exports high-quality food products to Kazakhstan and Russia and the sector has much room for development. Tourism is another growth industry. Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country with much to offer travellers, from beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake to great winter-sports resorts and incredibly hospitable people.
European Times: What is AmCham doing to attract investors?
Almaz Dushembiev: We are working around the clock to make the world more aware of Kyrgyzstan’s investment and tourism appeal. We organise events, work closely with the government and build connections between stakeholders. We are also involved in improving Kyrgyz legislation, together with our partners from the National Alliance of Kyrgyz Associations and the International Business Council.
European Times: What is your personal message to our readers?
Almaz Dushembiev: Take a chance and visit our country; you will not be disappointed! Come and explore Kyrgyzstan’s virgin landscapes of incommensurable beauty and check out our exceptional business opportunities. You will be very welcome here.