On a main thoroughfare in central Bishkek stands a rare type of building in Kyrgyzstan these days: a busy factory. Women hunched over long tables can be seen from the street working late into the evening in boxy rooms under the greenish glow of florescent lights.
Kyrgyzstan is a fiscal train wreck waiting to happen. The Kyrgyz government is spending with abandon, even though it inherited an economy that was already in sorry shape. Foreign donors, meanwhile, are growing increasingly wary, as concerns mount about Bishkek’s reluctance to tackle transparency concerns.
Islamic banking is getting off to a slow start in Kyrgyzstan. But the country’s first brokerage agency following Islamic practices is changing the way Kyrgyz citizens – pious and secular alike – think about finance.
Arriving in Kyrgyzstan from Istanbul seven years ago, Orhan Eker found a niche that needed filling. There were already several established Turkish kebab joints in Bishkek. But despite the relatively small market for Turkish food, he opened a now-popular café serving home-cooked favorites: spinach and rice dishes, salads, and chicken cooked in herbs that he imports from Turkey.