1. Please describe your career path after graduating from the JISPA. How has the JISPA contributed to your career development?
After graduating from JISPA in 2008 I was invited to join the team of Gazprom neft to introduce a totally new Corporate System of Non-cash Payments into the Kyrgyz market. Analytical skills and knowledge of statistical tools, which I mostly obtained from JISPA, made me a valuable member of our team where I analyzed the market, forecasted sales, set sales targets and prepared reports to Gazprom neft Moscow office. After a year of service I was appointed as the Head of the Department.
Indeed, JISPA opened new horizons for me in terms of equipping me with necessary qualifications to become a competitive candidate for different positions in different fields like public policy, international development and economics. Thus, in 2011 I was elected as the Executive Director of the International Business Council (IBC) that is a business association uniting top taxpayers of the country. IBC mission is to support economic development of the Kyrgyz Republic and it acts as a bridge between the Government and private sector. So even though I am working in the private sector, I work in close cooperation with the government and international development partners, towards the common goal of developing our economy.
2. Have you worked on any issues relevant to Japan or regional cooperation? If so, please explain the duties and/or experiences that you had.
As the Executive Director of the IBC, I closely work not only with the private sector and government, but also with the development partners of the country and diplomatic missions. In this regard, I was and am still in close cooperation with the Embassy of Japan to the Kyrgyz Republic and JICA Kyrgyz Republic Office. In 2011 I took active part in the second Japan-Kyrgyz Symposium on economic development and investments in Kyrgyzstan. The event was aimed at promoting development of trade relations between Japan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as attracting investment in Kyrgyzstan organized by the Embassy of Japan. We discussed potential areas of cooperation including sectors of rare metals, herbs, and drinking water. From 2013 we are involved in JICA’s “Strengthening of business associations in the Kyrgyz Republic” country-focused training course. The overall goal of this project is to establish and successfully implement a sustainable dialogue between government and business-associations in solving practical problems slowing down the economic development of Kyrgyzstan. The purpose is to strengthen staff capacity of business associations and the Ministry of Economy. One of the three permanent participants of this training program is the IBC (where I am the Executive Director). There was one trip to Japan so far where I sent one of my colleagues to take part. Most of the collaboration activities take part in Kyrgyzstan. Japanese training program includes meetings and trainings from different organizations like METI, SMEA, JETRO, ROTOBO, DBJ, JBIC, CCI of Japan, JASMEC, research institutes and thinks tanks.
I did take part in the Regional Trade Liberalization and Customs Reform by USAID. Our team conducted a research of cross-border trade between Kyrgyzstan and its neighboring countries. The issue became very sensitive after the 2010 events that took place in the country. A series of workshops and round tables organized by us with recommendations to the Government tried alleviate the problems related to cross-border trade.
In 2012 I led a team of highly-qualified experts to conduct a sectoral overview of the Mining Sector in Kyrgyzstan that provided the starting point for program planning, covering the thematic range of all programme components for GIZ Mineral Resources for Development (MRD) Programme, Central Asia. The objective of the programme was to improve the general conditions for developing a modern mining sector as a driver of sustainable development in the Kyrgyz Republic. The purpose of the analysis was to determine the concrete obstacles and gaps which have a negative impact on capabilities and preparedness of mining companies to conduct or to start the production of mineral resourses in the country. As part of this project, I took part in the study tour aimed at establishing and strengthening the regional network and exchange of experience between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as with German mining industries. I reported the results of the research in conferences that took place in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Germany.
In 2011 and 2012 I managed a project “Strengthening Business Intermediary Organizations (BIOs) for Sustainable Economic Development in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia” financed by the European Commission. The project was implemented in partnership with the European Center for Eco and Agro Tourism (ECEAT) with headquarters in Amsterdam, Tajik Association of Tour Operators, the Kyrgyz Association of Tour Operators and the Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism Association. Our activities were supported by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Kazakhstan Tourism Association and Kazakhstan Association of Hotels and Restaurants. Some of the results of this work:
- We established the Public Fund “Tourism Promotion and Development Board of Kyrgyzstan” that unites main tourism business intermediary organizations in Kyrgyzstan and serves as a platform that supports the identification of priority issues in the respective economic sphere and thus facilitates a smoother and productive public private dialogue;
- We created the logo and slogan for the tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic;
- We established Central Asian Tourism Association (CATA), the main goal of which is to provide research into legal, economic or technical matters in relation to travel and tourism, and more particularly those that are likely to provide a better service to the consumer;
- We organized the First Central Asian Tourism Conference titled "Towards a Collaborative Development of the Tourism Sector in Central Asia".
Another example of regional cooperation where I participated is the program that examined the rise of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and how innovation can drive social and environmental change organized by the International Visitor Program, U.S. Department of State. This project focused on the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, as well as government initiatives that support civic engagement and innovation. Through examination of successful model of Social Entrepreneurship, I explored new ideas on applying market-based solutions to organize, create, and manage ventures that engage the community to solve social problems.
With Mr. Omurbek Babanov, then-Prime Minister (left)
IBC open meeting "Legal Aspects Restraining the Development of Mining Industry"
Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, June 2012
3. You are currently working as Executive Director, International Business Council. Could you please briefly outline your duties as the Executive Director, mentioning any challenging issues that you are facing (if there are any)?
IBC is one of the leading business associations in the Kyrgyz Republic and plays active role in the country’s public private dialogue. My job of the Executive Director is to lead a team that is involved in the following four major activities:
- Advocacy: Through active participation in lawmaking and public activity we protect legitimate business interests and contribute to making the Kyrgyz Republic an attractive investment destination;
- Leadership:Uniting and spreading ideas, we come up with new methods and approaches on the most important aspects of the country’s development;
- Research: We regularly carry out independent studies on the current state of national economic development and its prospects;
- Information: Our periodicals contribute to a greater awareness of business community, government officials and the general public on latest developments in country’s business environment and investment climate.
It is big challenge for me every day since I am in intensive and continuous dialogue with all the stakeholders of economic growth of the country, i.e. the Government and Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, business, international development partners and finance institutions, local and international NGOs, mass media, local communities and local authorities. This means a consistent and tiring work in raising issues of the business community and tackling the most conflict sensitive matters in the mining, microfinance, construction and other sectors of the economy. I am a member of more than 15 working groups of different levels, including the National Council for Sustainable Development, in which I am one of the two members representing the business sector among the total of 23 members of the Council chaired by the President and consisting of the Speaker of the Parliament, Prime-Minister, leaders of political parties etc. Most of these working groups are chaired by the Prime-minister or the Economy Minister and require active involvement and restless drive in influencing the authorities to ensure a better business environment for the growth of existing business and for the attraction of new investors, thus promoting the socio-economic development of the country. Another challenge is my role of an independent expert on business regulatory frameworks that requires appearances in the national news media outlets on a regular basis.
With Mr. Temir Sariev, Minister of Economy (right)
IBC open meeting "National Development: Vision of Business Community"
Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, September 2014
4. Please describe the economic outlook of Kyrgyz Republic and any policy challenges (this answer can be combined with Question 3).
I do not want to give any figures that show economic situation of the Kyrgyz Republic (anybody can find them in Internet) rather I would like to talk more about specific policy challenges. Promoting investments to the Kyrgyz market is one our jobs, that’s why I will give some positive facts about my country first. Some of the advantages of the Kyrgyz Republic as an investment location are:
- Liberal legislation;
- Low tax rates;
- Visa-free regime for 62 countries;
- Competitivelabor force;
- Cheap electricity;
- Transparent society thanks to the parliamentary democracy.
As any country, Kyrgyzstan has its problems and policy challenges. In my opinion, rapid economic growth is very possible since the Kyrgyz Republic has resources, both natural and human, and there is a great potential for a country with a population of about 6 million and GDP per capita of about 1200 U.S. dollars. Key factors hindering this economic growth are the following:
- Non-predictability of laws and regulations;
- Lack of political stability;
- Inconsistency of public and economic policy;
- Red tape and high level corruption;
- Poor access to finance;
- Poor road, railroad and airline connections.
Another important challenge at the moment is the upcoming entry of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Eurasian Economic Union and the Customs Union together with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. This will bring lots of new rules and changes to the laws of the country. Kyrgyzstan’s closest trading partners are China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey. For many businessmen of the country who are involved in economic relations with the countries – non-members of the Customs Union like China and Turkey, these new rules cause higher import and export tariff rates. Devaluation of national currencies of neighboring Kazakhstan and Russia also has its negative impact on the Kyrgyz currency. Kyrgyz economy is very dependent on the remittances of our nationals working abroad. Since the biggest part of these remittances used to come from Russia, devaluation of Russian ruble is becoming a reason for low money transfers from Russia and return of Kyrgyz citizens that will cause greater unemployment rate in the future.
5. Please briefly describe your student days in Japan, such as your major and research interest, as well as your experience of life in Japan.
Two years that I spent in Japan in 2006-2008 were very useful for me and my family. I was in Japan with my wife and had to live one year outside campus in the city of Minamiuonuma-shi, Niigata. This exposure to real life among the people of Japan let me learn more about the culture and traditions of Japanese people. Some of the Japanese practices can be introduced and successfully implemented in a developing country like Kyrgyzstan. As an example, I am one of the promoters of new methods of waste management and utilization in my country and the experience of Japan could be a good example. Apart from being extremely busy with the classes and homeworks on weekdays, I enjoyed onsens (Japanese sauna) on mountains and skiing during long winter seasons. I also enjoyed being a teaching assistant to the professors of Research Methodology and Economics, and being an instructor of skiing for my friends from no-winter countries like South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America.
My research was devoted to the issue of Trade Liberalization of the Kyrgyz Economy. I conducted several simulations of the effect of introducing a production tax in agriculture and reducing tariff rates with the help of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling using the Input-Output table for 2005 of the National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. The goal of this research was to look for appropriate policies to enhance agricultural production and increase the nation’s well-being. The simulations gave me concrete results on the effect of these possible policy changes on the production, government sector, private sector, foreign sector and prices based on which I made conclusions on the overall impact of these policy changes on the welfare of the Kyrgyz economy.
6. Any message to the current JISPA scholars studying in Japan as well as potential candidates?
This is a great and unique experience in terms of getting a high-quality education. More than that, this program gives an opportunity to learn more about Japan – one of the top economies of the world, and make new friendship ties with the students from different countries. I am still in touch with my friends from the International University of Japan (IUJ) and proud to have friends from every part of the world.
7. Do you have any message that you wish to mention to Japan?
My participation in JISPA and my degree from IUJ opened new opportunities and horizons for me. It certainly helped me in my career development and I hope that I am using the knowledge and experience that I received in Japan for the best of my country’s socio-economic development.
I would like to thank IMF, the coordinator of JISPA, the Government and the people of Japan for this opportunity that helps developing countries to strengthen their public sector human capital.
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