TASHKENT, May 5, 2010 ― Philippe Le Houérou, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, completed his April 29th - May 3rd visit to Uzbekistan. He was accompanied by Motoo Konishi, World Bank Country Director for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and other World Bank officials.
The purpose of his trip to Central Asia was twofold: an official visit to Central Asian countries, including Uzbekistan, and participation in the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Annual Meetings.
During his visit, Le Houérou met with the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov, and a number of delegations participating in the ADB Annual Meetings.
In the meeting with President Karimov, the two parties discussed the current state of the country’s economic situation and future prospects for cooperation between the World Bank and Uzbekistan. They also touched upon the issues of political and economic stability in Central Asia. Special attention was paid to discussing water and energy issues in the Central Asian region.
Welcoming his guest, the Uzbek President emphasized the strategic character of jointly implemented projects in priority sectors of the country’s economy, and the consistent expansion of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the World Bank. In return, Le Houérou expressed his sincere gratitude to the head of the state for the warm reception and noted the country’s stable economic growth despite the global financial crisis. Le Houérou also congratulated the President and the government for hosting a very successful ADB Annual Meetings in Tashkent at a critical moment for the region and the world.
The World Bank and the Government of Uzbekistan expanded their collaboration in the energy sector by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on April 30th for the development of the proposed Talimarjan Transmission Project. In the Memorandum of Understanding the two parties undertake to join efforts to meet growing electricity demand in the South-Western part of Uzbekistan; improve the reliability of electricity supply by strengthening the network and reducing transmission losses; and enhance Uzbekistan’s potential to export energy.
«The Memorandum of Understanding signed today further advances the ongoing dialogue on the energy sector,» said Le Houérou at the signing. «This project will be the first IBRD loan requested by Uzbek government under the current Country Assistance Strategy. It offers numerous benefits in terms of improved system reliability and increased export/transit capacity. The population in South-Western Uzbekistan will be the main beneficiary of the project. The project will help to increase the region’s competitiveness in terms of industrial and commercial development and may lead to the creation of new jobs.»
Within the May 2nd - 3rd ADB Annual Meetings program, Le Houérou participated in the Uzbekistan country presentation, and had a number of meetings with the World Bank’s partners in development, international finance institutions, and foreign embassies accredited for the event.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods by being a partner in economic reforms, supporting the modernization of the country’s social sectors and infrastructure, and sharing its knowledge and experience with the government and the people of Uzbekistan.
Total World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to approximately US$860 million.