ADB Director General Werner Liepach visits Uzbekistan, meets officials 

Tashkent, Uzbekistan ( -- Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for Central and West Asia Department Mr. Werner Liepach visited Uzbekistan from 7 to 11 February.

He met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Djamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Elyor Ganiev, Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Mr. Sardor Umurzakov, and Minister of Energy Mr. Alisher Sultanov. 

During the meetings with government officials, Mr. Liepach highly valued ongoing reforms in the country and reaffirmed ADB’s further support to the government’s priorities. He noted ADB’s role as Uzbekistan’s largest development partner, and focused on cooperation in public-private partnerships, energy, transport, agriculture, and improving the public procurement system. Mr. Liepach welcomed the recent establishment of the Uzbekistan agency for public-private partnerships and mentioned ADB’s continued advisory support to the newly established and existing institutions. He also discussed ADB’s priority projects in Uzbekistan for 2019, forthcoming country partnership strategy, and implementation of ongoing projects and programs.

ADB is preparing a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), 2019–2023, for Uzbekistan to support country’s transition to a vibrant market economy with the concomitant transformation of the state role in the economy. Indicative strategic areas of the CPS are reforms for private sector development, equitable development of regions, and regional cooperation and integration. ADB plans to mobilize over US$1 billion a year in the next three years to improve water supply and sanitation, transport infrastructure, energy generation and distribution, and youth employment; to create jobs in rural areas; to broaden access to modern healthcare; and to support the government’s reform program in economic management.

Mr. Liepach visited ADB-supported projects in Djizzak and Tashkent provinces and met with project beneficiaries that received financing for affordable rural housing and for horticulture provided by ADB through local commercial banks. Mr. Liepach noted that the housing project helps many low-income families in rural areas to improve their living conditions and livelihoods, while serving as a catalyst for job creation and private sector development. Horticulture producers along with access to long-term finance, have an opportunity now to improve their business skills, access information on market and technology, and generate stable incomes for themselves, their employees and suppliers. 

Mr. Liepach also assessed the advanced electricity metering system in Djizzak city, where he visited a regional electricity metering data center and saw the installation of meters. The project will eliminate commercial losses and increase energy efficiency by introduction of modern, accurate, theft-proof digital meters for over 1 million power users in Bukhara, Djizzak and Samarkand. 

Since joining ADB in 1995, Uzbekistan has committed 70 loans totaling US$7.4 billion, including two private sector loans totaling US$225 million. ADB also provided US$6 million in equity investment, US$218 million in guarantees, and US$87.3 million in technical assistance grants. In 2018, ADB committed five loans totaling US$1.1 billion to improve power generation efficiency, primary health care services, access to finance for horticulture farmers and businesses, access to drinking water in western part of Uzbekistan, and economic management in the country.

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