TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (10 November 2017) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang today met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov. Mr. Zhang reiterated ADB’s support for the government’s development agenda and expressed confidence in the country’s economic prospects.
Mr. Zhang’s visit to Uzbekistan included meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister Djamshid Kuchkarov, Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Batir Khodjaev, and other senior officials to discuss ADB operations and future directions of its partnership with Uzbekistan.
During discussions with Prime Minister Aripov, Mr. Zhang congratulated the government on its recently approved medium-term national development strategy and successful foreign exchange reforms.
“I am highly encouraged by the government’s determination on economic liberalization and infrastructure development,” said Mr. Zhang. “ADB looks forward to expanding its partnership with the government and other stakeholders at this important stage of Uzbekistan’s history to bring prosperity to the people of Uzbekistan.”
Mr. Zhang mentioned that ADB has recently approved its country operations business plan for 2018-2020, which fully supports the government strategy and reflects updated development priorities of Uzbekistan. ADB is prepared to provide lending, capacity development, and knowledge assistance to expand infrastructure development in energy, transport, and urban sectors; improve the quality of public services; and enhance access to finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and agribusiness. The business plan includes a project pipeline of $2.9 billion for 2018-2020. In addition to public sector assistance, ADB will explore direct investments in the private sector and public-private partnership opportunities.
During the visit, Mr. Zhang witnessed the signing of an $80 million loan agreement for Pap-Namangan-Andijan railway electrification project. The project will electrify 145.1 kilometers of non-electrified track linking major cities in the Fergana Valley with the capital. This will facilitate direct and efficient operation of freight and passenger train services, and promote economic and social development in the Fergana Valley.
Mr. Zhang visited ADB-supported projects and met with local government and project beneficiaries in Urgench city, including small businesses related to SME financing jointly provided by ADB and the Uzbek government through local commercial banks. He also visited water supply and sanitation facilities improved under the ADB’s financial assistance.
Since joining ADB in 1995, Uzbekistan has received 65 loans totaling $6.3 billion, including two private sector loans totaling $225 million, $6 million in equity investment, $200 million in guarantees, and $65.6 million in technical assistance grants.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.