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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Turkey

19th February 2013

How to boost investment in Kyrgyzstan

My recent blog about our South Caucasus and Central Asia regional conference in Istanbul noted the importance of helping British and local businesses to grow across the region. Encouraging this to happen is one reason I was appointed to Istanbul as Consul General and Director-General of Trade and Investment for Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Asia.


In some countries of the region there are important measures which could be taken to help boost inward investment.  One example from Kyrgyzstan is the classification and reporting of  mineral deposits.  Kyrgyzstan is an important focus for the UK at the moment – the new British Embassy opened in Bishkek in March 2012 with the arrival of our  first resident Ambassador, Judith Farnworth.  Developing commercial ties is an important and promising aspect of the bilateral relationship, as reflected in the wide range of opportunities, including in the mining sector, identified in a scoping report commissioned recently by the Embassy.

At present, the Kyrgyz authorities use Soviet-era methodology to assess and evaluate  the scale of potential mineral reserves.  The problem is that although this mechanism may be intrinsically OK, it is not widely understood in the outside world.  This presents an additional barrier to attracting international investors to come and invest in mining in Kyrgyzstan.

One possible approach which some experts have suggested might work better would be to use the codes developed by global stakeholders in the minerals industry.  These are reporting standards recognised and used world-wide for market-related reporting and financial investment.  Experts note that the Russian Federation, for example, is considering the adoption of the “CRIRSCO International Reporting Template”; and that Kazakhstan is also exploring these standards.  UK mining industry experts such as SRK Consulting are ready to share their expertise with the Kyrgyz government, and to explain why adopting this approach could make investment in the Kyrgyz mining sector more attractive to global investors.

We all want to see more rapid economic growth across Central Asia and the South Caucasus.  Some economies are already growing rapidly, in part based upon the effective use of natural resources.  It would be good to see Kyrgyzstan take a step towards joining the ranks of the top performers by introducing measures, such as standardisation of measurements of mineral reserves, which might encourage more foreign companies to invest.  When they are, the new British Embassy in Bishkek as well as our regional specialists here in Istanbul stand ready to help.

1 comment on “How to boost investment in Kyrgyzstan

  1. Interesting article and observation of the mining in KG, however i believe the old soviet system of mineral reserves evaluation is not the main obstacle for investments. Political stability, predictability of the tax system and business environment would contribute to more attractive investment climate in KG. But taking into consideration current situation with mining in KG, the most important is to obtain “social license”. Currently KG government is attempting to reform state regulation of the mining and be more proactive addressing conflicts between mining companies and local communities. Hopefully this initiatives will raise attractiveness of the mining investments in KG.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.