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Tashkent hosted a “Country Platform” Roundtable on Uzbekistan

On September 30 this year, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov took part in a meeting of the Country Platform on Uzbekistan.

“Country Platform” is a new initiative of the World Bank, aimed at organizing coordinated interaction of countries with international financial institutions, donors and development partners in the development and implementation of programs and projects in the socio-economic development of recipient countries. Uzbekistan is one of 11 pilot countries selected for testing this initiative.

This mechanism allows countries to prioritize and engage development partners, including non-traditional donors and the private sector, in promising projects. It also facilitates the effective organization of donor assistance for reforms in recipient countries.

The event was attended by World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia region A.Bjerde, Asian Development Bank Vice-President S.Chen, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Vice-President for Investment Operations K.Limitovsky, Islamic Development Bank Vice-President M.Mukhtar, International Finance Corporation Regional Director for Central Asia K.Colbert, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Managing Director for Central Asia Z.Hargitay, Principal Advisor on Credit Operations of European Investment Bank for Central Asia A.Bruun, as well as management of OPEC Fund for International Development, European Investment Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency, French Development Agency, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, UNDP, USAID, KfW Bank, Eximbank of Korea and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Opening the event, S.Umurzakov stated that over the past 5 years, Uzbekistan is moving along the path of large-scale and irreversible economic reforms and structural transformations aimed at creating a free market economy and democratization of society. With the support of international financial institutions and foreign governmental organizations, Uzbekistan has been successfully implementing important projects to develop public-private partnerships, modernize the national transport system, transform the banking sector, reform microfinance organizations, introduce international standards in the textile industry, develop the energy sector and other areas.

The priorities of further development of cooperation and implementation of projects in Uzbekistan through both consultative and expert assistance and financing of socio-economic programs were discussed. The importance of forming a joint plan for the implementation of reforms, which will identify specific areas of cooperation and scope of work, was noted.

During the meeting, presentations were made by the Agency for Strategic Development under the President of Uzbekistan and the Agency for International Cooperation and Development under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade, which revealed their potential, goals and objectives in the organization of coordinated cooperation with international financial institutions, foreign governmental organizations and development partners. It was noted that the Agency for Strategic Development is designed to become a key structure for the development of strategies and programs aimed at integrated socio-economic and industrial development, investment attraction and implementation of projects in promising industries, improving the investment climate and foreign trade activities in the country, creating conditions for improving the competitiveness of industries and regions, banking sector, as well as the development of large-scale poverty reduction measures.

The opportunities for creating a joint fund with the participation of the Agency for Strategic Development, which would accumulate grant funding to support reforms in Uzbekistan, were also considered.

In addition, an analysis of all projects under implementation and development will be conducted in cooperation with donor structures to develop proposals for further unification, as well as harmonization and synchronization of international and domestic procedures for each project cycle to improve the procurement system and conduct transparent and efficient tenders. The Agency for International Cooperation and Development will play a coordinating role in this process.

The heads of international financial institutions expressed their readiness to take an active part in the institutional development and capacity building of the Agency for Strategic Development and the Agency for International Cooperation and Development and to provide technical and advisory assistance in solving their tasks.

As a result of the event, the parties agreed to create two working groups consisting of representatives of international financial institutions and donor structures to establish practical cooperation with these agencies. The working groups will develop appropriate Roadmaps, which will include specific activities and programs.

For reference: The Country Platform initiative was launched in October 2019 as part of the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC.