The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a $50 million concessional credit for Uzbekistan. It will finance a five-year project supporting the Government’s efforts to modernize the national statistical system and improve the capacity of the State Committee on Statistics (SCS) to produce and disseminate data in line with international standards.
The International Development Association, a part of the World Bank Group, will provide the above-mentioned Concessional Financing to the Government of Uzbekistan at a very low-interest rate and with a repayment period of 30 years, including 5 years grace period.
Strengthening the national statistical system, including the SCS and other state agencies producing official statistical data, is at the core of the Government’s reform agenda. Although the SCS’s openness to sharing statistical data has increased significantly since 2017, the ongoing National Statistical Development Strategy recognizes many existing systems are still outdated, labor intensive, and do not comply with international standards.
The authorities aim for much more ambitious improvements over the coming years, focused on improving access to timely, reliable, and accurate statistics to empower further reforms and Uzbekistan’s development.
The World Bank-funded project will support rapid improvements in human capacity and technological resources to process, analyze, and report key statistical measures. These are all crucial to improving the efficiency of public services delivery, private sector growth, and attracting foreign investments in Uzbekistan.
“With the World Bank’s technical support, the SCS prepared a National Strategy for the Development of Statistics for 2020-2025,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “We are proud to support the implementation of the Strategy through the new project. Quality statistical data will help advance Uzbekistan’s ambitious transformation by strengthening decision making and policy implementation based on data and evidence”.
The project includes the following key components and activities to reach various goals:
Component 1: Institutional Reform and Capacity. The project will invest in activities to review the organizational structure of the national statistical system, update statistical legislation, improve the SCS’s operational capacity and human resources management, develop and implement training programs for SCS staff, universities, and students.
Component 2: Statistical Data Production. The project will assist with closing the most important social and economic data gaps identified in the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics and the modernization of the processes for collecting these statistics. Statistical production will be improved by thoroughly updating national accounts, the well-being monitoring system (e. g. demography, price, gender, poverty, and labor statistics), environmental statistics, and improving statistical methods, standards, and registers.
This component will also support the population and housing census and the agricultural census to be held nationwide and scheduled for 2023 and 2024 respectively, both to be conducted for the first time since Uzbekistan’s independence.
Component 3: Improving Equipment and Statistical Data Dissemination. This component of the project will fund the modernization of the SCS’ data center, the procurement of ICT equipment and systems for digitizing paper-based archives, licensed statistical data processing software, computers, and tablets for collecting and analyzing data to be distributed among staff at the SCS’s central office and regional branches.
It will also support the transition of the SCS’s operations from paper documents to electronic data collection and distribution, the production of the Annual Statistical Yearbook and other statistical reports, the development of the SCS’s official website and various databases on its platform.
The country program for Uzbekistan is the World Bank’s second-biggest operation in the Europe and Central Asia region. It comprises 25 projects – in areas such as economic management, agricultural modernization, water resource management, health, education, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, social protection, urban and rural infrastructure, the national innovation system and tax administration. The World Bank has also supported the Government’s response to the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under its new five-year Country Partnership Framework that is being prepared now, the World Bank will continue providing financial and analytical support to the Government to implement reforms provided by Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy for 2022-2026.