Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan since 2016, has emerged as a prominent figure in Central Asian politics. This article explores his background, political journey, and the sweeping reforms that have shaped his presidency.
Early Life and Education of Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Born on July 14, 1957, in the Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan, Mirziyoyev hails from a family of doctors. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanisation Engineers in 1981, earning a Ph.D. in engineering and the title of associate professor.
Rise to Political Prominence
Mirziyoyev’s political career commenced in 1990 as a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. Over the years, he held key positions, including mayor of the Mirzo-Ulugbek district of Tashkent, governor of the Jizzakh region, and mayor of the Samarkand region. Simultaneously, he served as a deputy in the Oliy Majlis, the Parliament of Uzbekistan, from 1995 to 2003. His contributions to regional development paved the way for his appointment as Prime Minister in 2003, a role he held four times – in 2003, 2005, 2010, and 2015.
Presidential Ascension Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Following the passing of former Uzbek President Islam Karimov in September 2016, Mirziyoyev took the reins as interim president and later won the presidential election in December 2016.
“Honour and Dignity” Reforms
Mirziyoyev’s presidency has been marked by transformative reforms known as the “honour and dignity” reforms. These initiatives encompass:
- Political System Reform: Efforts to make the political system more open and transparent.
- Economic Liberalization: Creating a favorable business environment, liberalizing the economy, and eliminating the black market for foreign currencies.
- Rule of Law: Strengthening the rule of law and ensuring human rights, freedom of speech, and media freedom.
- Social Projects: Implementing projects to reduce poverty and improve sustainability.
International Relations: Building trust and good-neighbourly relations in Central Asia and fostering cooperation with global partners.
New Uzbekistan 2022–2026 Program
Under Mirziyoyev’s leadership, Uzbekistan is advancing the New Uzbekistan 2022–2026 program, which aims to consolidate reforms and position the country as a destination for foreign tourism and investment in Central Asia. Key goals include economic growth, increasing per capita GDP to USD 4,000, promoting free-market competition, and reducing state regulation.
The Uzbekistan-2030 Strategy, currently in development, builds upon earlier concepts and focuses on:
Individual Potential: Creating favorable conditions for personal development, including education reforms and poverty reduction.
- Economic Growth: Promoting sustainable economic development.
- Environmental Conservation: Emphasizing water conservation and environmental protection.
- Rule of Law: Ensuring an effective public administration and judicial system.
- Peaceful Nation: Striving to become a safe and peace-loving nation.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s presidency in Uzbekistan has brought about a significant transformation, both domestically and in terms of international relations. His commitment to reforms and vision for a new Uzbekistan reflects his determination to improve the quality of life for Uzbek citizens and promote economic growth in the region.