World Bank boosts support for Uzbekistan

26 Jul 19

The World Bank is scaling up its support for Uzbekistan and has praised reforms aimed at fostering a market economy.

The bank has announced loan and grant agreements totalling $656m for projects in the country, which is now among its largest recipients in the Europe and Central Asia region.

The Washington-based organisation has said the energy sector is key to growth but suffers weak financial and operational performance, infrastructure bottlenecks, and an incomplete policy and regulatory framework.

“The government and the people of Uzbekistan are eagerly embracing the opportunities presented by the country’s social and economic transformation, and the World Bank is keen to support this process,” said Cyril Muller, World Bank vice president for Europe and Central Asia. 

“We are increasing our financial and technical support across a number of areas as the country enters the next phase of ambitious reforms.”

During a recent visit to the country Muller met president Shavkat Mirziyoyev, prime minister Abdulla Aripov and senior government officials to discuss the country’s efforts to nurture a market economy.

They also discussed how reforms are progressing in its bid to develop the financial and banking sector, transform state institutions, expand citizen engagement, and improve health, education and social protection systems.

Following the talks, loan and grant agreements totalling $656m for World Bank-supported projects to boost the development of pre-school education and social protection systems were announced.

The World Bank has rapidly scaled up its support to Uzbekistan since the start of a reform process in 2017, and its programme there includes 22 projects totalling $4.08bn. 

These have focused on economic and institutional reforms, agriculture, health, education, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, social protection system, and urban development.

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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