Uzbekistan and new investment opportunities. Interview with Roberto Granello, Chairman and Co-Founder at Kelmer Group

Sep 14, 2020

Kelmer Group is an International Business Consulting company that assists entrepreneurs in their international ventures, solving all the bureaucratic, administrative, and fiscal issues, from the start-up to the day-to-day operations. We opened our first office in London in 1997,

starting as a small group of professionals with a solid consulting background who decided to gather their experience to create a new project. Since then, progressively, we ensured our presence in the most strategic worldwide markets, such as UK, Ireland, UAE, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, The Philippines, and even USA and Australia. Thanks to our solid network and professional team, we became the ideal one-stop-shop for internationalization.

What brought Kelmer Group to Uzbekistan?

We are always interested in exploring rapidly growing economies, it is what always drove our Group’s growth. An opportunity was presented by a young entrepreneur, Mr. Farhodjon Rasulov, who is a Representative of the Governor of Andijan, H.E. Shuhratbek Abdurahmonov, about untapped opportunities for International companies that wanted to invest in the new Uzbekistan market. As any new market, we have done a due diligence and visited Andijan in February 2019, where we had the privilege to meet with the Governor and witnessed his supportive and welcoming attitude for international business proposals.

What are the reasons to invest in Uzbekistan; and what are the main projects, sectors or factors that will drive the country’s development?

Uzbekistan is a resource-rich, populous country, strategically located in the heart of Central Asia. It should be noted that President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev by his decree has approved the action strategy on priority areas of the country’s development for 2017-2021. The action strategy will be implemented in five stages, and each stage provides for approval of a separate annual state program on the strategy’s implementation in Uzbekistan, according to the decree. There is five key legal and institutional reforms: state governance, rule of law and legal reforms, liberalization of the economy, social sphere, security, religious tolerance and interethnic harmony, foreign policy.

Currently, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the literacy rate is 97%, comparable to Singapore and other developed countries. Additionally, there are 93 local universities and 21 branches of foreign universities.

Indeed, about 67% of the population of 33.5 million people aged 15 to 64 years, the average age is 29 years, which is an important advantage. By 2035, the population is forecasted at 44 million people (an increase of 33% compared to 2019); the level of urbanization will be at least 59% (currently it stands at 50%).

Currently, the Republic of Uzbekistan has the largest able-bodied population – about 19 million people – which exceeds the number of able-bodied populations of Central Asian countries combined.

Currently, the Republic’s economy is the second fastest growing in the CIS, with an indicator of 5.1%, according to the results of 9 months of this year, growth accelerated to 5.7%. According to the Asian Development Bank, GDP growth in 2020-2021 will be about 6%.

As of the beginning of 2019, the country has sufficient gold and foreign exchange reserves of USD 28 billion (55% of GDP), and government debt of USD 17.3 billion (34% of GDP). Reserves more than cover the volume of external debt, which is an important stabilizing factor.

It is noteworthy that in 2019 Uzbekistan entered the top 20 countries in the world that achieved the greatest results in improving the business environment. It is worth noting that in the World Bank “Doing Business” 2012 ranking, Uzbekistan stood in the 166th place. In the 2020 ranking, the country achieved the best results in protecting minority investors, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and international trade. In fact, the republic moved up from 76th to 69th place in this year’s “Doing Business” ranking (among 190 countries).

In accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to further improve the mechanisms for attracting foreign direct investment in the economy of the republic” dated April 29, 2019 № PD-4300 foreign investors are offered state shares in 29 large enterprises, including 4 financial institutions, 2 from energy sector, 6 oil and gas, 3 chemical and other industries.  In addition, the shares of Uzpromstroybank, Asia Alliance Bank and Jizzakh Plastic are put up for an initial public offering (IPO), the shares of Quartz, Aloka bank and the Uzbek Republican Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange for a secondary public offer of shares (SPO).

It is significant that the decision of the Head of State decided to introduce a visa-free regime for the entry of tourists from 86 countries of the world. In this regard, Uzbekistan is becoming the most open country for tourists among the CIS countries. For comparison, in 2017, citizens of only nine countries had a similar opportunity. In case, the number of countries with visa-free entry has been increased from 9 in 2017 to 86 in 2020 (an increase of 9.5 times).

The above measures have allowed a sharp increase in the flow of foreign citizens from 1.9 million to 5.4 million people, and by 2022-2023, it is forecasted to receive 10 million foreign citizens. It is worth noting that, according to the Gallup rating “Global Law and Order” and “Individual Report on Travel Safety”, Uzbekistan is on the 5th place in the list of the safest countries in the world for personal safety, law enforcement and travel, along with Switzerland and other developed countries.

Moreover, an “investment visa” has been introduced for investors who have contributed at least USD 200,000.

The introduction of free conversion of the national currency, the reduction of trade barriers and customs payments allowed to significantly increase the volume of trade, namely by 37% compared to 9 months of 2018, while exports grew by 45.5% and imports by 31.5%.

The Republic of Uzbekistan conducts an open, mutually beneficial, and constructive foreign policy based on the national interests of the country. Current foreign policy of Uzbekistan is formed considering the dynamic changes in the world and the region as well as large-scale reforms within the country. Main turnover partners are China, Korea, Turkey, Germany, and CIS countries.

The main export structure consists of gold, tourism energy and textile products. While machinery and chemical products are base sectors to import.

One of the greatest advantages for attracting international capital is the fact that we have significant reserves of mineral resources, more than 2,000 deposits.

Obviously, The Republic of Uzbekistan has tremendous potential for energy development. There are more than 310 sunny days a year in the country, the technical potential of solar energy exceeds 2 trillion kWh, wind energy 1 trillion kWh and hydropower 27 billion kWh.

Moreover, Uzbekistan has developed infrastructure, namely the total length of roads exceeds 184,000 thousand km, electric networks 237,000 km, railways 4,700 km, gas pipelines 13,700 km, 11 international airports, and the construction of the “dry port of Navoi” is under consideration.

Currently, the Uzbek government is implementing the Program for development and modernization of engineering communications and road infrastructure for 2015-2019, which provides for the elaboration of a single complex development strategy for the national transport industry, which meets high international standards, and ensures its broad integration into international transport communications, taking into account the long-term needs of domestic manufacturers in promoting their products to the regional and world markets.

The country is making efforts to increase the capacity of the transport system, remove existing barriers to unimpeded transit through the territory of Uzbekistan, which plays great importance for the development of international transport corridors in Central Asia.

Over the past 2 years, large-scale reforms have been carried out in the tax system, the rates of a single tax payment, VAT, property tax, social payment have been reduced, a flat taxation scale has been introduced for personal income, and some types of taxes and obligatory payments have been canceled. Moreover, the VAT rate has been reduced from 20% to 15%. Therefore, the tax burden on business entities is gradually being reduced.

The measures taken to radically improve the country’s investment climate and simplify the business environment over the past 3 years have led to a sharp increase in the number of enterprises with foreign capital, namely from 5,370 in 2017 to 9,730 by October of 2019 (an increase of 81%).

Presidential Decree № PD-4300 provides for the provision of investment residency in the Republic of Uzbekistan “Uzbekistan my second home”. It is planned to introduce a procedure for providing residence permits to foreign investors, subject to investment in the Republic of Uzbekistan

To actively attract foreign capital, there are currently tax and customs incentives, 21 free economic zones (7 pharmaceutical, 12 industrial, 1 agricultural and 1 tourism), a business ombudsman institution has been introduced, the Tashkent International Arbitration Center has been established, and a draft unified law on investments has been developed and investment activity”, which aims to combine the norms of 3 laws and about 100 by-laws regarding investments.

New Silk Road connectivity, tax incentives and comprehensive structural and regulatory reform make Uzbekistan an attractive Central Asian powerhouse. Over the last few years, Uzbekistan has made significant strides to attract more international business and investment, overhauling virtually every facet of doing business in the country in an attempt to facilitate and increase foreign direct investment (FDI). The nation’s strategic location as the main land corridor with developed infrastructure helps in booming market with high growth. There is no doubt that ongoing reforms will help to provide great opportunities to each potential investor.

What are the steps an entrepreneur should follow in its approach to the local market?

For our fellow investors who show interest in Uzbekistan, our advice is to work closely with both experienced consultants, and representatives of the country, who can support them thoroughly in every step of their business venture in Uzbekistan. We as Kelmer Group, are one of the first investors in Andijan; we have recently established our Investment Consulting office there, and we are always ready to cooperate and support any new investors.

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KELMER GROUP’s privacy policy (GDPR version)


Welcome to the KELMER GROUP’s privacy notice.

Kelmer Group respects your privacy and is committed to protecting your personal data. This privacy notice will inform you as to how we look after your personal data when you visit our website (regardless of where you visit it from) and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.

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Please also use the Glossary to understand the meaning of some of the terms used in this privacy notice.



Legitimate Interest means the interest of our business in conducting and managing our business to enable us to give you the best service/product and the best and most secure experience. We make sure we consider and balance any potential impact on you (both positive and negative) and your rights before we process your personal data for our legitimate interests. We do not use your personal data for activities where our interests are overridden by the impact on you (unless we have your consent or are otherwise required or permitted to by law). You can obtain further information about how we assess our legitimate interests against any potential impact on you in respect of specific activities by contacting us.

Performance of Contract means processing your data where it is necessary for the performance of a contract to which you are a party or to take steps at your request before entering into such a contract.

Comply with a legal or regulatory obligation means processing your personal data where it is necessary for compliance with a legal or regulatory obligation that we are subject to.


  • Service providers acting as processors based in the United Kingdom who provide IT and system administration services, including billing.
  • Professional advisers acting as processors or joint controllers including lawyers, bankers, auditors, agents and insurers based in the United Kingdom or abroad.
  • Professional advisers acting as legal representatives of counterparties.
  • HM Revenue & Customs, regulators and other authorities and agencies acting as processors or joint controllers based in the United Kingdom or abroad who require reporting of processing activities in certain circumstances.


You have the right to:

Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.

Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.

Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.

Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it impacts on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms. 

Request restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios: (a) if you want us to establish the data’s accuracy; (b) where our use of the data is unlawful but you do not want us to erase it; (c) where you need us to hold the data even if we no longer require it as you need it to establish, exercise or defend legal claims; or (d) you have objected to our use of your data but we need to verify whether we have overriding legitimate grounds to use it.

Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.

Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.

Data Processing Terms of Business for Suppliers


In order that you as a service provider and data processor (referred to as “Processor” or “you” or “your”) may provide or continue to provide certain services (the “Services”) to us, the Business and data controller (referred to as “the Business” or “we”, “us” or “our”), you have agreed that these data processing terms (“Terms”) shall apply (notwithstanding any other terms and conditions applicable to the delivery of the Services to the contrary) in order to address the compliance obligations imposed upon the Business and its Clients pursuant to the Data Protection Law. These Terms shall constitute a separate agreement or they may be incorporated by reference in the relevant Services agreement, as the case may be.



SCHEDULE: Security measures

Processor shall put in place the following measures, as applicable.

Minimum technical measures

  • Firewalls which are properly configured and using the latest software;
  • user access control management;
  • unique passwords of sufficient complexity and regular expiry on all devices;
  • secure configuration on all devices;
  • regular software updates, if appropriate, by using patch management software;
  • timely decommissioning and secure wiping (that renders data unrecoverable) of old software and hardware;
  • real-time protection anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware software;
  • https;
  • encryption of all portable devices ensuring appropriate protection of the key;
  • encryption of personal data in transit by using suitable encryption solutions;
  • multi-factor authentication for remote access;
  • WPA-TKIP secured WiFi access;
  • delinquent web filtering and other appropriate internet access restrictions;
  • intrusion detection and prevention systems;
  • appropriate and proportionate monitoring of personnel; and
  • data backup and disaster recovery measures and procedures.

Minimal organisational measures

  • Vet all personnel including staff, contractors, vendors and suppliers (including Subprocessors) on continuous basis;
  • non-disclosure agreements used with all personnel;
  • regular training of all personnel on confidentiality, data processing obligations, identification of Security Breaches and risks;
  • apply principle of least authority, including a restricted or strictly controlled transit of data and material outside of office;
  • physical security on premises including reception or front desk, security passes, clean desk policy, storage of documents in secure cabinets, secure disposal of materials, CCTV, etc.;
  • apply appropriate policies including Information Security Policy, Data Protection Policy, BYOD, Acceptable Use Policy; limited and monitored personal use of work resources, as appropriate.