On 22 March, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov met with the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Odile Renaud-Basso, who arrived in the country to participate in the Tashkent International investment forum. This is her first visit to Uzbekistan as head of the Bank.
During the meeting, the current state and prospects for deepening cooperation between the EBRD and Uzbekistan in priority areas were discussed.
In particular, further steps were considered for the practical implementation of the EBRD Country Strategy for Uzbekistan for 2018-2023, the key areas of which are to support the development of the private sector, expand regional and international cooperation, and promote clean energy and resource solutions in all sectors of the country’s economy.
The course of investment cooperation was studied: at present, the portfolio of projects implemented in Uzbekistan with the involvement of EBRD financial resources consists of 57 projects with a total value of 1.7 billion euros. The parties discussed further joint actions to accelerate the promotion of current projects, and also discussed aspects of new project initiatives, agreements on which are planned to be signed on the sidelines of the Tashkent International Investment Forum.
Special attention was paid to enhancing cooperation in the textile industry. The President of the EBRD welcomed the lifting of the boycott of Uzbek textiles by the international coalition Cotton Campaign and expressed her readiness to assist in attracting foreign private sector companies to implement projects in Uzbekistan.
They also touched upon issues related to the holding of the next Annual Meeting of the EBRD Board of Governors this year, which will be held in Marrakesh. An agreement was reached to organize a separate session on the investment prospects of Uzbekistan within the framework of the meeting, during which information on the investment and economic potential of the country in the context of industries and regions will be presented to the attention of representatives of international government and business circles.
A separate place on the agenda of the meeting was given to the prospects for expanding the activities of the EBRD in the regions of Uzbekistan. An agreement was reached on the development of 3 targeted plans for the development of infrastructure and industry for various regions of the country, taking into account their economic specifics and potential, implying the provision of financial and technical assistance from the EBRD in the implementation of selected projects. The development and selection of projects will be carried out by the Bank’s specialists together with the “project groups” created in each region of the country under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade.
The prospects for deepening partnerships in supporting the development of women’s entrepreneurship were also discussed. The President of the EBRD announced that the Bank plans to increase investment in projects and programs to address gender equality issues and bring their share in total investment to 40 percent. In this context, the Bank’s management also expressed readiness to strengthen support for the rights and opportunities of women in Uzbekistan by expanding the Women in Business program and providing targeted credit lines to the country’s commercial banks for the development of women’s entrepreneurship.
In addition, during a thorough and constructive dialogue, issues of further deepening the partnership and increasing the number of joint projects in the fields of green energy, the mining sector, transport and the pharmaceutical industry were considered.
As a result of the meeting, further actions were identified to promote joint programs and initiatives considered during the negotiations.