TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (25 March 2022) — Private sector development remains critical to ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will continue to help the country strengthen its private sector as it pursues inclusive and sustainable growth, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a meeting with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
“ADB firmly supports Uzbekistan’s continued prioritization of structural reforms while boosting private sector engagement in the economy,” said Mr. Asakawa on his first visit to Uzbekistan as ADB President. “We’re committed to bringing the private sector to the frontline of economic development. In addition to financial resources, we will continue supporting reforms and helping state-owned enterprises in strategic sectors including banking, energy, and water supply.”
Uzbekistan is aiming to transfer 20% of public services to the private sector and expand the share of the private sector in its gross domestic product to 80% by 2026. ADB is active in the financial, infrastructure, and agribusiness sectors of Uzbekistan’s private sector.
Uzbekistan is ADB’s largest client for public–private partnership (PPP) transaction advisory support. The bank has successfully closed three transaction advisory mandates in renewable energy, water and wastewater, and district heating in Uzbekistan. ADB is working to develop new PPP projects in health care, solid waste, education, wastewater, and renewable energy. ADB has also supported the government to revise the country’s PPP law in line with international best practices and create a stronger enabling environment for private participation in infrastructure.
Mr. Asakawa highlighted the importance of Uzbekistan’s ongoing green transition for sustainable development. The country is aiming to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and ADB is contributing to this goal through solar, wind, and hydro energy projects. Uzbekistan’s pursuit of a greener economy could bring more trade with international partners and attract foreign direct investment.
Mr. Asakawa also emphasized the opportunities created by regional cooperation and integration as the countries of Central Asia recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. As a member of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, double-landlocked Uzbekistan benefits from trade and transport connectivity, and regional energy trading.
ADB has supported CAREC initiatives since 2002 and is currently helping to rehabilitate 240 kilometers of highway between Kungrad in northwest Uzbekistan and Daut-Ata in Kazakhstan. The bank is also working to improve regional energy trading and develop new cooperation among national power systems.
This week, Mr. Asakawa also met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Djamshid Kuchkarov and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov. He was joined on the visit by ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov and Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury.
Yesterday, Mr. Asakawa participated in the opening plenary session of the Tashkent International Investment Forum, a high-level conference organized by the government to showcase the country’s investment potential to the international investment and business communities. Ms. Gaboury held a consultation with ADB private sector clients to hear perspectives on challenges and opportunities for private sector investment in Uzbekistan.
Today, Mr. Asakawa delivered opening remarks at the Country Platform for Development Partner Coordination meeting, chaired by Uzbekistan Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and attended by high-level representatives of other development partners.
While in Uzbekistan Mr. Asakawa will visit three ADB-supported projects:
- The Affordable Rural Housing Project which is helping to build up to 29,000 affordable housing units across the country.
- The Advanced Electricity Metering Project which helped to boost energy efficiency by installing smart meters in Samarkand, Bukhara, and Djizzak regions, and connecting all meters to a national grid.
- The Horticulture Value Chain Project which is providing access to long-term financing for farmers and businesses throughout the country.
Uzbekistan joined ADB in 1995 and the bank has since committed loans, grants, and technical assistance of more than $10 billion to the country.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.