Kyrgyz PM here this week
By Kim Se-jeong
Eight months into his job, Kyrgyz Ambassador Duishonkul Chotono to Korea is expecting support from home this week.
Arriving on Thursday, Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov will be a “Buy Kyrgyzstan” agent for three days.
One important reason for the prime minister’s visit is a peace conference which will take place on Jeju Island at the beginning of June where Babanov will meet with his Korean counterpart Kim Hwang-sik.
The rest of his time will be dedicated to engaging with prospective Korean investors in an effort to attract them to his country with 5.5 million people and a fragile economy.
“Korean investors are welcomed in Kyrgyzstan,”Chotono said.
The land-locked country has GDP per capita at $2,200. Relatively robust mining, hydroelectric energy and agriculture sectors are the
engines of its economy.
Referred to as the “Switzerland of Central Asia,” the land with high mountains and abundant water reserves is a perfect candidate for hydroelectric power plants.
Already many power plants have been established, and more are on their way. Hydroelectric power is a dominant source of power for the country, and as the ambassador noted, even that is only 10 percent of the country’s hydroelectric power potentials.
Chotono said it sells electricity to neighboring countries, and participates in the CASA-1000 project, a cross-country power line that will connect Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan.
The current picture of Korean investment in Kyrgyzstan is grim.
Two hundred small and medium companies and individual traders are doing business in and with Kyrgyzstan. Lack of awareness about the country, distance and uncertainty about the political stability are blamed for the small, stagnated investment flow from Korea.