On April 20, by a decree of the President of Uzbekistan, Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, was awarded a high state award “Dustlik”.
The Republic became a member of the WB on September 1992, when its representative office was opened in Tashkent.
The Road Map of the main directions of structural reforms in Uzbekistan for 2019-2021 was prepared with the assistance of the World Bank. Among its priorities are macroeconomic stability and accelerated transition to market relations. Areas where change is especially needed include energy, agriculture, the financial sector, the development of competition and entrepreneurship, trade and transport, urbanization, macro-fiscal policy, the labor market and human capital.
All this reflects the WB’s solid investment portfolio in the republic. By April, total financial support amounted to 5,722 million USD. Moreover, while previously 20 projects were implemented for $ 1,527 million USD, today 25 are being implemented simultaneously, and investments increasing by 2.7 times – up to $ 4,195 million. Among them:
– 5 agricultural projects ($ 1,100 million);
– 3 in the field of economics and finance ($ 1,033 million);
– 3 energy projects ($ 614 million);
– 3 in the sphere of education ($ 166 million);
– 2 in water resources management sector ($ 359 million);
– 2 transport projects (271 million dollars);
– 2 in the healthcare sector ($ 241 million);
– 2 in water supply and sanitation ($ 241 million);
– 1 for the development of urban infrastructure ($ 100 million);
– 1 in the social sphere ($ 50 million);
– 1 in the inventory as part of the E-Government project ($ 20 million).
Last year alone, the World Bank approved another 7 projects for $ 1,056.8 million, the bright instance of one of the projects is “Landscaped villages” with the participation of both the WB (100 million) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (88 million). It aims to improve the basic infrastructure and strengthen the activity of local authorities in 300 selected settlements until the end of 2024. We are talking about water supply, sanitation, electrification and energy efficiency, restoration of social facilities, roads and bridges.
The project “Entrepreneurship Development in the Ferghana Valley” for $ 200 million is also associated with remote areas. Until 2025, it will affect all 39 districts of three regions. The mechanisms of business incubation and mentoring, creating clusters, testing and promoting technologies, as well as lending will be used in the project which will help expand business activities and create new jobs.
The budget of the project “Improving the early development of children” equals to 73.8 million dollars, which is a clear example of the attention of the country’s leadership to education. Its objectives are to improve the infrastructure, material and technical base of preschool institutions with a total capacity of 1 million pupils, conduct regular assessments of the quality of this stage of training, further introduce public-private partnerships and alternative models that provide access to knowledge for children from rural and remote areas.
“Strengthening the social protection system” project is expected to be fulfilled by 2024. $ 50 million will be used to increase the effectiveness of support for the poor. To realize the objective, a unified social registry will be created, the processes for the provision of specialized services and assignment of benefits will be ameliorated, and the quality of work of employment promotion centers will be improved. Another $ 33 million was allocated for the project “Building Institutional Capacity of Uzbekistan”, designed to optimize public financial management and mechanisms to facilitate reforms, improve the conditions for market operations of the corporate sector.
This year, the Board of Directors of the World Bank approved 2 more major projects. The first is “Modernization and improving the competitiveness of agriculture” for 2020-2026. Iits costs were increased at the request of our side from 200 to 500 million dollars. It is considered a key project for the implementation of the Strategy for the Development of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2020-2030, because the sphere provides about 30% of GDP and 25% of export revenue. The initiative will accelerate the transition to market-oriented agriculture, increase the efficiency of work and improve productivity and trade chains.
More than half a million residents of the country will witness and feel the results of the second new project – “Program for the Development of Water Supply Services and Institutional Support” with foreseen costs of $ 239 million. The funds will be used to upgrade water treatment facilities in three cities of Karakalpakstan – Nukus, Takhiatash and Khojeyli, reconstruction and expansion of water supply and sewage networks in Kattakurgan and Syrdarya region. The programs for accounting consumption and reducing the loss of valuable resources will be introduced.
Earlier this month, it became known that the World Bank will support Uzbekistan’s efforts to combat the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its impact on the socio-economic situation, as well as assist the population and a number of industries, especially entrepreneurship and the agricultural sector. As a matter of priority, the issue of the speedy allocation of $ 1.2 billion for healthcare, social protection and other purposes is in the process of allocation.
The WB also provides the republic with consultations in the field of budget, tax and banking policies, attracting investments, modernizing legislation and etc. In particular, in 2018-2019, consultations were provided to transform civil aviation. A new similar agreement was signed with the government on January 2020.
The issues of project implementation and expansion of cooperation are discussed during the frequent visits of World Bank delegations. Meetings are regularly held with the President, members of the Cabinet of Ministers and parliamentarians. The latest such high-level talks took place in January. And now, communication continues via video conferencing.
The key to moving forward is the continuation of reforms that will continue to be supported by such reliable international partners as the World Bank.