World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev today to discuss Uzbekistan’s social and economic transformation and to reaffirm the World Bank Group’s support for reforms to accelerate economic growth and boost shared prosperity. The meeting in Washington, DC took place on the margins of Mirziyovev’s first official visit to the United States.
"I’m very impressed with Uzbekistan’s wide ranging and ambitious reforms,” Kim said. "The World Bank Group will continue to provide expertise and financing to support the country’s ambitious development agenda and advance the government’s efforts to build a brighter future for all the people of Uzbekistan."
Uzbekistan has made rapid progress in adopting major reforms. In the last 12 months, the Government has taken major steps to transform its economy by liberalizing its currency, lifting trade and investment barriers, and improving business regulations and opening markets to attract private sector investment and boost exports. At the same time, the Government is also introducing safety nets to protect its most vulnerable people and it has made citizen engagement a growing priority.
The World Bank Group is working closely with the Government to modernize and diversify Uzbekistan’s large and robust agriculture sector, which employs millions of people. The goal is to transform agriculture, including the cotton sector to help improve livelihoods and completely end the use of forced labor.
"Uzbekistan is on the right track. Continuing bold economic and social reforms, improving the business environment, and strengthening institutions will bring private sector investments, create jobs, and help the country join the leading economies of Central Asia and the world," Kim said. "I strongly support the government’s efforts to continue reforms that will benefit all people in Uzbekistan."
At the meeting, loan agreements were signed providing US$940 million in financing for four new projects in Uzbekistan, focusing on energy efficiency, horticulture, and emergency medical services. They are part of US$2.8 billion in World Bank projects under implementation supporting transportation, education, agriculture, irrigation and water supply and sanitation services aimed at boosting economic growth and improving living standards. An MOU between the World Bank and Uzbekistan was also signed reinforcing collaboration.
One IFC advisory services agreement was also signed. The Transaction Advisory will structure a public-private partnership (PPP), to attract private investors to finance, design, build and operate solar plants in Uzbekistan and help mobilize up to US$1 billion of investment.
Uzbekistan’s social and economic transformation has also generated new momentum among Central Asian countries for greater regional cooperation in energy, transport, water, and economic connectivity.
The World Bank Group is realigning its country partnership framework to respond to the Government’s bold reforms. The goal is to help Uzbekistan build a market economy, reform state institutions, broaden citizen engagement and invest in human capital through education, health and social protection systems.