Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 156

The International Monetary Fund has increased the amount of loans available to Kyrgyzstan under the three-year economic restructuring program from $105 million to $131 million. The IMF pronounced itself satisfied with the country’s efforts in reducing inflation, stabilizing the som (its national currency), increasing its foreign trade, and advancing the privatization of state property. (18)

In Kazakhstan, the Hydrocarbon company of France has agreed to modernize the Atyrau oil refinery, as main partner in a consortium which includes major German, British, and Japanese companies. The refinery will be equipped to process 5 million tons of crude oil annually from the Tengiz and Mangyshlak oil fields on the Caspian Sea. (19) In Kazakhstan’s largest privatization deal to date, the Ispat International company owned by an Indian expatriate has bought the assets and taken over the management of the Karmet steel works, with a work force of 35,000 and a capacity of six million tons annually. Ispat, which has specialized in turning around privatized steel works, plans to bring output up to capacity but will also have to release much of the bloated work force inherited from the Soviet period. (20)

In Uzbekistan, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation has agreed to underwrite investments worth $500 million in the conversion of the country’s Soviet-era military industry. The agreement capped a recent visit by OPIC president Daniel Riordan with executives of 16 US companies in Uzbekistan. On the same visit, US oil companies signed protocols on long-term investments totaling $1.3 billion in Uzbekistan’s oil and gas industry, and Allied Signal Aerospace company agreed to invest in the development of Uzbekistan’s air transport, including modernization of Tashkent airport and of the country’s air traffic control system. (21) Finally, Uzbek president Islam Karimov and Lithuanian prime minister Adolfas Slezevicius agreed at a meeting in Tashkent to create special facilities for the delivery, storage, and shipping of Uzbek goods bound for northern and western Europe in Lithuania’s port Klaipeda, which lies at the terminus of existing overland transport routes from Uzbekistan to the northwestern part of the former USSR. Slezevicius was heading a delegation of Lithuanian officials and businessmen. (22)

1. Itar-Tass, December 18

2. Interfax, December 17

3. Itar-Tass, December 18

4. Interfax, December 17

5. Interfax, Western agencies, CNN, December 17; Itar-Tass, Interfax, December 18

6. Itar-Tass, December 18

7. Itar-Tass, December 18

8. Reuter, December 18

9. Interfax, December 17

10. Interfax, Reuter, December 15 through 18; NTV, December 15 and 16

11. Interfax, December 16 and 17

12. Interfax, December 17

13. Interfax, December 16

14. Interfax, December 17

15. BNS, UPI, December 15 and 16; The Financial Times, December 14

16. Interfax and Western Agencies, December 15

17. Interfax, Reuter, December 15

18. Financial Information Agency, December 15

19. Petroleum Information Agency, December 15

20. Reuter, December 17

21. Interfax, December 15

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