Uzbekistan’s chemicals and fertilizers sector has huge potential for growth, but turning it into a modern industry that can support the country’s needs and develop its export potential requires the right government reforms and private sector investments.
A new cooperation agreement between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Government of Uzbekistan aims to generate new investments in the sector, encourage the adoption of sustainable practices, and create new opportunities for more skilled employment.
“Recently the government of Uzbekistan has initiated reforms aimed at transforming its chemical and fertilizers sector. The goal is to replace the old chemical and fertilizer production and distribution systems, promote investments and create a competitive industry that will provide new high-skilled jobs and reduce Uzbekistan’s carbon footprint,” said Timur Ishmetov, Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has the advantage of being able to draw on its own raw materials to produce a wide range of fertilizers, industrial and consumer goods. However, the sector, which has been largely state-controlled, has suffered from severe underinvestment, industrial inefficiency, and resource overconsumption. The project aims to address the sectors’ inefficiencies by facilitating necessary market transformations, reducing the state’s footprint, creating a level playing field for private investors.
“Given its abundant natural assets, Uzbekistan has the potential of being a significant exporter of chemicals and fertilizers. With progressive reforms and investments in skills and technology, the chemicals industry can play a catalytic role in the economic development of Uzbekistan,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. “Through this partnership, we aim to support the government of Uzbekistan in modernizing the sector and attracting international companies to invest and bring in the latest solutions and best practices required to build up a sustainable chemical industry in the country”.
Uzbekistan, the most populous country in Central Asia, is undergoing an unprecedented economic transformation. As of May 1, 2021, IFC had US$160 million in investment commitments in Uzbekistan. IFC’s advisory services aim to help the government of Uzbekistan in preparing state-owned banks for privatization, developing and diversifying the financial market, encouraging the equitable and sustainable use of Uzbekistan’s natural resources, and piloting public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the power and health sectors.