This affects Tajikistan’s ability to attract investment and tourists and to create jobs. For this reason – unusually for VSO - together with the Tajikistan Embassy, the British Embassy in Tajikistan, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tajikistan, the Central Asian and Trans Caucasus Business Interest Group (CATBIG) and the International Finance Corporation, VSO organised a series of events designed to developunderstanding of Tajikistan and strengthen ties between Tajikistan and the UK.
On 22nd November, Shuhrat Rakhmatboev, Deputy Chairman of The State Committee on Investment and Management of State Property, and Anvar Yakubov, Head of The Administration of The Free Economic Zone(FEZ), Sughd, visited the Houses of Parliament for a panel debate, where they , together with the ambassadors to Tajikistan and the UK, officials from Tajikistan and Nigel Mills MP, addressed representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, Members of Parliament and businesses with current or potential investments in Tajikistan. According to Baroness Stern, Chair of the meeting, this was one of the best-attended and liveliest events she had experienced. Mr Rakhmatboev and Mr Yakubov also visited the constituency of Nigel Mills, MP, who recently volunteered with the Free Economic Zone, Sughd. His Amber Valley constituency, a former mining area, has undergone significant regeneration in recent years. According to Mr Yakubov, ‘This visit stimulated many new ideas and helped us understand how the UK trains the next generation and supports the wellbeing of its population. Tajikistan faces similar problems and many solutions here are relevant for Tajikistan.’
On 24th November, more than forty business representatives attended a meeting at CATBIG. Mr Rakhmatboev, who leads the implementation of key projects on investment climate reform stated, ‘Support provided by the UK for social and infrastructural projects in Tajikistan is very important for the economic growth and wellbeing of Tajik people. Tajikistan needs an increased volume of high quality investment to develop productive sectors of the economy. The country now offers a good investment climate and conditions. The aim of this meeting was to bring Tajikistan to the attention of potential British investors.’ A photographic exhibition opened by the Tajikistan Ambassador at the Apricot Gallery displayed the work of photographers Surat Toymastov and Alena Kondyurina and introduced Tajikistan to Londoners. Concluding the event programme, Ambassador Erkin Kasymov said, ‘This was a wonderful initiative to introduce Tajikistan to people in the UK. The organisers will meet together in the coming weeks to plan follow up and ensure that we maintain momentum.’