President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has held the presidency since 2016, and his recent re-election in July 2023 underscores his enduring popularity. This article delves into his background, political journey, and the far-reaching reforms that have reshaped Uzbekistan during his tenure.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev was born on July 14, 1957, into a family of medical professionals in the Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanisation Engineers in 1981, complemented by a Ph.D. in engineering and the title of associate professor.
Mirziyoyev’s political career commenced in 1990 when he became a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. His journey through public service saw him take on pivotal roles such as the mayor of the Mirzo-Ulugbek district of Tashkent, governor of the Jizzakh region, and mayor of the Samarkand region. Concurrently, he served as a deputy in the Oliy Majlis, the Uzbek Parliament, from 1995 to 2003. His remarkable contributions to regional development culminated in his appointment as Prime Minister of Uzbekistan in 2003, a role he held on three more occasions in 2005, 2010, and 2015.
In September 2016, following the passing of former Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Mirziyoyev assumed the role of interim president. He later secured his presidency in the December 2016 election.
Mirziyoyev’s presidency is synonymous with a series of groundbreaking reforms termed the “honour and dignity” reforms. These encompass:
- Political System Overhaul: A commitment to transparency and openness in the political system.
- Economic Liberalization: Creating a conducive business environment, liberalizing the economy, and eliminating the black market for foreign currencies.
- Rule of Law: Strengthening human rights, freedom of speech, and media freedom while enforcing the rule of law.
- Social Welfare Projects: Implementation of initiatives aimed at poverty reduction and long-term sustainability.
- International Diplomacy: A focus on building trust and cooperative relations in Central Asia and with global partners.
Uzbekistan is now advancing the New Uzbekistan 2022–2026 program under Mirziyoyev’s visionary leadership. The program seeks to consolidate previous reforms and position the country as a premier destination for foreign investment and tourism in Central Asia. Key objectives include fostering economic growth, raising per capita GDP to USD 4,000, nurturing free-market competition, and reducing bureaucratic regulation.
The ongoing development of the Uzbekistan-2030 Strategy builds upon earlier principles and outlines priorities, including:
- Individual Empowerment: Creating favorable conditions for personal growth through educational reforms and poverty alleviation.
- Sustainable Economic Progress: Promoting enduring economic development.
- Environmental Sustainability: Emphasizing water conservation and environmental preservation.
- Effective Governance: Ensuring a responsive public administration and a reformed judicial system.
- Peaceful Nation: Striving for a secure and peace-loving nation.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s presidency has witnessed a remarkable transformation in Uzbekistan, both on the domestic front and in international relations. His steadfast commitment to reforms and his vision for a new Uzbekistan illustrate his dedication to enhancing the quality of life for Uzbek citizens and fostering regional economic growth.