Unprecedented shocks rock South Asia, exacerbating challenges and dampening growth

Anna, Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, visited Uzbekistan from September 29 to October 2, 2022, as part of a wider trip to Central Asia. Ms Bjerde met with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as senior government officials and beneficiaries of a World Bank-funded project that is helping improve rural infrastructure in Uzbekistan.

During his meeting with President MirziyoyevMs Bjerde discussed the results of 30 years of partnership between Uzbekistan and the World Bank, an anniversary which was celebrated in September this year. President Mirziyoyev and Ms. Bjerde noted in particular the achievements of increased financial and advisory support from the World Bank to help Uzbekistan implement transformative economic and social reforms since 2017, and agreed to expand bilateral cooperation strategy in several economic and social fields.

Ms. Bjerde also held talks with senior Uzbek government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction. Jamhid KuchkarovDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Jamshid KhodjaevMinistry of Finance Timur IchmetovChairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank Mamarizo Nourmuratovand Director General of the Agency for Strategic Reforms Shukrat Vafaev.

During her meetings with her counterparts, Ms. Bjerde discussed the implementation of the recently launched program Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Uzbekistan for the next five years. The CPF supports the authorities in the development of the private sector to create new jobs and reduce poverty, improve human capital, build a green and sustainable economy, close gender gaps and create the conditions for broader citizen engagement. . The CPP is aligned with the New Uzbekistan Development Strategy for 2022-26 and will help the authorities achieve the country’s ambitious development goals.

Ms. Bjerde and her counterparts also discussed the progress of government reforms and World Bank support for the reform and privatization of public enterprises and banks, the modernization of agriculture, energy, finance and other strategic sectors, improving education, health and social protection services, developing transport connectivity, improving rural and urban infrastructure, empowering women and improvement of the business and investment climate. Discussions also took place around the next National Climate and Development Report that the World Bank is preparing for Uzbekistan.

“We welcome that, despite the ongoing global shocks and crises, Uzbekistan’s path for reforms and impact on the development of its citizens through an inclusive and sustainable transition to a market economy remains the priority. absolute government,” said Anna Bjerde. “As we mark the 30th anniversary of the partnership with Uzbekistan, the World Bank looks forward to helping the authorities achieve their ambitious development goals by implementing the Country Partnership Framework which outlines our financial and advisory support for the reform agenda and priority development projects in the coming years.”

While in Uzbekistan, Ms. Bjerde also visited the village of Saroy, located in the Jizzakh region, and met local residents, students, parents and teachers. Saroy is one of 306 remote villages in five regions of the country benefiting from a rural infrastructure development project, which is being implemented by the government with financial aid World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The project directly involves local communities through a participatory process to identify their infrastructure needs. In more than 175 villages, residents have already drawn up community development plans, which will receive funds to implement sub-projects, such as the modernization or construction of drinking water, gas and electricity supply systems. electricity, roads, schools and other basic infrastructure and services. .

Residents of Saroy village voted to rehabilitate the local school which was built decades ago and did not meet public building codes and standards. During their meeting with Ms. Bjerde, they presented the community’s experience in developing and overseeing the implementation of a sub-project that completely rebuilt and expanded the school’s facilities. The school is now able to accommodate more students from Saroy and neighboring villages and is better equipped to ensure student learning.

The World Bank’s country program in Uzbekistan is among the three largest in the Europe and Central Asia region. As of October 1, 2022, it consisted of 27 projects, with net commitments totaling approximately $4.76 billion.

These projects provide support in critical areas, such as macroeconomic reforms and modernization of agriculture, water resources management, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, health, education, social protection, urban and rural infrastructure, national innovation, tax administration, statistics and financial systems, etc. They also contribute to mitigating the health, social and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as building resilience to the impacts of climate change.

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