2018 is the year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. This will be not only a cultural event. The theme concerns many other areas. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Uzbekistan, Yerik Utembayev, in his interview to UZREPORT TV talked about his expectations from the new year in regards to strengthening the ties between the countries. The diplomat highlighted that 2018 will be full of political meetings and economic contacts between the two states. 2017 showed that tourism is one of the promising industries for development.  ‘Astana - Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara’ tours are gaining popularity among travelers. "We launched special trains, for example, including ‘Almaty – Tashkent’ connection, we also increased the frequency of flights between our countries," Yerik Utembayev said in the interview.

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Uzbekistan has the highest average life expectancy rate in Central Asia, according to the analytical review published in the Kazakh media. Life expectancy in Uzbekistan has reached 73.8 years and it has approached 73.7 in Tajikistan, whereas the average lifespan in Kazakhstan is 72.4 years. 70 years is the average life expectancy in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. In general, in the past year the share of the elderly population in the region has increased to 4.9%. According to analysts' forecasts, the child population will continue to grow in 2018. At the beginning of the past year, the number of children under the age of 14 in Central Asia was estimated at nearly 20.5 million people, which is more than 29% of the region’s total population. If the birth rate is maintained, the share of the child population will reach 30% in 2018.

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Tashkent hosted tripartite talks on construction of the ‘China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan’ railway. Heads of departments discussed financing of the project and came to an agreement that the exact route of the railway line will be determined in April 2018. The initiative to build the railway between the three countries was proposed by Kyrgyzstan in the early 2000s. President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, highlighted the project on construction of new railway links as one of the priorities of the 2018-2022 national development program. This will help improve the country's transport infrastructure. At the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana in 2017, the Uzbek President said that the early start of the railway construction would provide the three countries with the shortest way to enter the world markets. 

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