On February 2 this year, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan S. Umurzakov held talks via videoconference with the President of the Asian Development Bank Masatsugu Asakawa, during which issues of bilateral cooperation and implementation of joint projects were discussed.
It was noted that ADB cooperation with Uzbekistan is multifaceted and long-term, and the portfolio of projects in the country, worth more than $10 billion, is the largest among all other development partners. While providing financing for socially and economically significant projects, the Bank also provides technical and advisory assistance in the implementation of program reforms in Uzbekistan.
In this vein, ways of further cooperation on the implementation of the goals and objectives of the ADB Partnership Strategy with Uzbekistan for 2019-2023, which correlate with the Uzbekistan Development Strategy for 2022-2026 adopted this year, were discussed. Common priorities, in particular, are supporting the private sector, promoting regional cooperation, reducing inequality by promoting inclusive growth and other important areas.
The current status of 29 projects implemented jointly with ADB with a total value of $5 billion in the areas of infrastructure development, energy, housing and communal services, healthcare and agriculture was considered. As part of the ADB Country Operations Business Plan for 2022-2024, Uzbekistan plans to implement 27 projects worth $2.8 billion, of which 3 projects worth $524 million will be implemented in 2022. The parties agreed on close cooperation to accelerate the implementation of approved initiatives and the coordination of projects under consideration.
Steps were outlined to further improve the efficiency of preparation and implementation of joint projects, in the context of which the mechanisms for interaction between ADB and the Agency for International Cooperation and Development under the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, which is designed to be the main coordinating link at all stages of the project cycle: prioritization, design, evaluation project, procurement and practical implementation. An agreement was reached to provide technical assistance from the ADB by sending experts to Uzbekistan to advise on further capacity building and institutional development of the Agency.
Special attention was paid to cooperation in promoting projects implemented in the country on the basis of public-private partnership (PPP). The progress made in the preparation and implementation of large-scale PPP projects in the energy sector together with ADB was emphasized: a separate ADB Solar Energy Development Program in Uzbekistan with a total capacity of 1 GW is currently being actively implemented. The parties noted the significant potential for expanding cooperation in this area and expressed their readiness to explore opportunities for expanding the introduction of PPP tools in the areas of water supply, modernization of electricity distribution networks, healthcare and development of transport infrastructure.
The issues of expanding cooperation with the ADB in matters of financial support for private sector projects and commercial banks in Uzbekistan, implementing road infrastructure expansion projects, developing the system of secondary and vocational education by improving curricula in the fields of technology, engineering and mathematics, increasing employment, modernizing the health sector, empowering women and promoting women’s and youth entrepreneurship.
During the dialogue, the Bank’s management was invited to participate in the work of the Tashkent International Investment Forum and related events.
As a result of the talks, agreements were reached to intensify cooperation in a number of areas that are priorities for both sides.
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