Top Stories April 3: Franklin Templeton comes to Uzbekistan


The government of Uzbekistan and global investment fund Franklin Templeton plan to establish a joint investment fund, in which the government will hand over state-owned shares in some state-controlled companies in a major privatization drive. The joint fund will be the first of a series of measures discussed to attract investors in the U.S, EU and other countries. Franklin Templeton plans to open an office Tashkent before the end of April. [Source: Spot]

In Uzbekistan women outnumbered men in banking activity: 8.8 million of women have a bank account, compared to 8.4 million men. Overall, 75% of the country’s citizens have at least one bank account, one of the highest levels of bank services penetration in the region. [Source:]


Poland’s IT consortium Euvic Group has closed the deal to acquire Ukrainian software developer Exoft. The deal is the first step of Euvic Group to a global expansion targeting the US market as a priority. [Source:]

A law on e-residents has come into force in Ukraine as of April 1. The law enables foreign IT specialists to start a company in Ukraine without physical presence, conduct business remotely with the help of an e-signature, and pay taxes to the country’s budget. [Source:]

Ukrainian IT company GR8 Tech, the former Parimatch Tech, will lay off nearly 50% of its 1,500 employees after its main client, a betting company Parimatch, was sanctioned by Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelenskiy in March. Management of GR8 Tech said they will help the employees in their search for new jobs. [Source:]


Russian restaurateur Alexander Sysoev has invested an undisclosed sum in Dubai-based startup E-Rockets (previously E-Tips) founded by Russia-origin entrepreneurs. E-Rockets allows business-owners in the B2C sector to collect e-tips, issue white label cards, launch online sales and streamline relationships with their clientele. [Source: RB]

Luxembourg-based Russia-origin startup Emma that provides banks a no-code technology for management of multiple clouds with no need for hiring highly qualified employees raised $6 million from Russian investors. The investments will be spent on automation and adding new features. [Source: TG-channel Russian venture]


A digital currency like digital ruble, digital som, bitcoin etc. can replace foreign fiat currencies, first of all the US dollar, now used by former Soviet republics in their mutual trade. This opinion was voiced by Kyrgyzstan’s premier minister Akylbek Japarov, whose country presides in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), when he commented on the SWIFT ban against Russian banks over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. [Source: Telegram Channel Bloqchain – Central Asia]

EU officials may be considering sanctions against Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan over their sales of some categories of house appliances like washing machines to Russia. Some parts of such appliances can be used for military purposes. [Source: BNE]

McDonald’s restaurants restarted their operations in Belarus and Kazakhstan under the brand “My otrkryty!” (“We are open!”) after the US company had been forced to leave these countries due to political reasons or problems with supply of raw materials. The new restaurants mimic those of McDonald’s with minor distinctions in design and menu. [Source: RB]


Cryptocurrency Binance opens a blockchain hub in Georgia and ramps up hiring in the country. The company hopes to attract top talent, facilitate educational initiatives in digital, advance Georgia’s crypto industry, strengthen blockchain education and accelerate the adoption of crypto in the region. [Source: Binance]


Kyrgyzstan started building an extensive optical fiber network to get Internet connection to every settlement in the country. The network is a base for the development of a digital economy, government top officials said. [Source:

The Kyrgyzstan Banks Union launched a free course on financial literacy for citizens. The course available in Kyrgyz and Russian languages is targeted at owners of small businesses or people willing to start their business. [Source:]


The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has withdrawn a license of Russia’s MTS Bank on operations in the country granted in early February 2023. The withdrawal was driven by the sanctions imposed on the bank in late February and the risks for UAE associated with it. [Source: Reuters]

Armenia’s Fly Arna, UAE’s Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, and Emirates have restarted to accept payments by Visa and Mastercard bank cards issued by Russian banks a year after Visa and Mastercard made such cards invalid outside Russia. The airlines use intermediaries for payments resulting in additional commissions paid by the customers. [Source: Kommersant]


Russian entrepreneurs Boris Dobrodeev, ex-CEO of Russia’s biggest social network VK, and Djasur Djumaev together with Uzbeki entrepreneurs are going to establish IT corporation Uzum in Uzbekistan that will unite both existing and new assets. Uzum will incorporate two banks, a lending service, and a grocery delivery service. [Source: RBC]

Russian Internet giant Yandex is reportedly making Serbia’s capital Beograde its European headquarters and opening a second office there. Previously the company had wanted to establish its biggest European branch in Italy, but the country’s authorities thwarted these plans. [Source: Forbes]

Yandex started testing its taxi hailing service Yango in Peru making it its 17th foreign country of presence. At the moment, taxis can be booked in the country’s capital Lima and some neighboring locations. [Source: TASS]

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