Expert Mederbek Korganbayev noted that the instability in the country scares off businessmen.
Mid-December is the period of summing up the results for the year on various indicators of the state’s development. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, the last 12 months have been declared the Year of Regional Development. Of course, due to the October Revolution and subsequent political processes, including the resignation of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, it will hardly be objective to talk about the results: the successes and failures of regional development. However, 9 months will be enough to understand what difficulties there are in the regions of Kyrgyzstan.
It must be noted that many problems that have been accumulating and getting worse for decades have arisen in regions of Kyrgyzstan. Political expert Mederbek Korganbayev told CentralAsia.news about the regional development of the country.
The region is a legacy of the 90s and a complex of acute problems
Analysis of regional policy should begin with identifying problems and in some cases, with identifying the reasons.
The interviewee underlined that the problem of unemployment remains the most acute. Its roots go back to the days of Kyrgyzstan’s independence. This period is characterized by the destruction of the production sphere.
— Such unemployment arose due to the massive destruction of production and service sectors in the 1990s. The privatization of the 90s has deprived many Kyrgyz people of permanent jobs. Of course, it is possible to solve the problem of unemployment by attracting investors, but the investment climate in Kyrgyzstan often depends on political stability, — commented Mederbek Korganbayev.
Investors are in no hurry to invest in regional economies. The expert stated that the Kyrgyz authorities cannot provide a high level of investment security and protection from raiders. This factor, along with a high level of corruption, deters capital owners. They prefer to invest in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, where everything is much more stable from a political point of view. The second problem includes the low level of development of the spheres of education, medicine, and infrastructure.
The interviewee considers it necessary to improve the quality of education in villages and regions. According to him, special attention should be paid to the study of Russian and English in schools. Mederbek Korganbayev stressed that the current realities require the residents of the republic to know both languages perfectly.
The COVID-19 revealed the problems in domestic health care.
— Residents of the regions were forced to travel tens and hundreds of kilometers to the capital or regional centers to receive qualified medical care. At the same time, the costs of transport, accommodation, and treatment were quite serious. Therefore, it is necessary to increase subsidies for the regions to ensure a high-quality medical sector, — said the expert.
Weak infrastructure remains an acute problem. Residents of territories not so far from regional centers suffer from this.
According to the expert, the regions are not given the proper level of attention. They are often remembered before the elections. But embezzlement, insufficient funding, and fraud in front of the authorities — all this traditionally remains strong in the regions, said the interviewee.
The work of Atambayev, Jeenbekov, and prospects
Both Almazbek Atambayev and Sooronbai Jeenbekov during the years of their presidency did «good deeds» for the benefit of the regions.
— During the years of his presidency, Atambayev has managed to implement many projects that contribute to the development of energy, communications between regions, and has brought tribalism to nothing in power structures, — underlined the expert.
Jeenbekov declared 2020 the Year of Regional Development. However, the work on regional development got more difficult due to the pandemic.
Despite the coronavirus, Jeenbekov personally visited the regions of the republic on working trips and got acquainted with the construction progress, with the activities of farms and enterprises. It should be noted here that Jeenbekov’s team then strengthened their work, commented Mederbek Korganbayev.
Despite the above problems, the regions have the potential for development, noted the interviewee. All 7 regions of Kyrgyzstan are of economic and tourist interest. The country is rich in minerals, water resources, and agricultural opportunities.
— Kyrgyzstan has investment potential in the field of energy — the construction of hydroelectric power plants, the development of tourism and ski sports — the creation of ski resorts and slopes, processing and production in the light industry, the development of coal, gold deposits, agriculture — the supply of grain, meat, vegetables and fruits to near and far abroad, — said the expert.
Korganbayev is confident that investors will come, the regions will develop, but only with internal political stability and strong protection of businessmen.