Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics visits Uzbekistan

July 10, 2011

Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics visits Uzbekistan.

Tashkent, July 10, 2011 - Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics concluded his visit to Uzbekistan today, noting that the country performed strongly during the economic crisis and that growth can be kept robust by facilitating continued industrial upgrading and economic diversification.

Mr. Justin Yifu Lin visited Uzbekistan on July 7 – 10. He was accompanied by Mr. Motoo Konishi, World Bank Country Director for Central Asia as well as Mr. Takuya Kamata, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan, and several other World Bank staff.

The visit took place on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence gained in 1991. While in Tashkent, Justin Yifu Lin had a number of meetings with high ranking Uzbek government officials, including Mr. Rustam Azimov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and others.

Justin Yifu Lin took the opportunity of his first visit to Uzbekistan in the capacity of the World Bank Chief Economist to learn more about the country, its economy and culture. He visited the Air Cargo Hub and Free Industrial Zone in Navoi region, and several industrial enterprises in Tashkent city. In Samarkand, Mr. Lin met the workers at the agricultural farm, visited “SamAntep Gilam” carpet factory and enjoyed a short tour of the cultural heritage sites of this ancient city.

Mr. Lin delivered an open public lecture “Uzbekistan: New Strategies and Opportunities for Structural Transformation” at the Institute of Forecasting and Macroeconomic Research. Among 250 participants there were civil servants, the diplomatic corps, development agencies, academia, and representatives from the donor community.

According to Mr. Lin, over the past years when the financial crisis unfolded, many countries in the Europe and Central Asia region (ECA) were very vulnerable as a result of their fiscal, financial, and social policies. However, the intensity with which countries in the region were affected depended on both their integration with world product, financial and labor markets and their policy weaknesses. As a result the crisis had a very different impact across the region. “Uzbekistan performed well in its gradual transition to a market economy with a minimum contraction and did not suffer a recession during the recent global financial crisis; the country is now developing with very high growth rate. But the country’s economic performance can be further accelerated by facilitating industrial upgrading and diversification aligned with its comparative advantage and tapping into its late comer advantage. Trade, financial sector, and private sector policies constantly need to be reassessed given the changes in the world economy and Uzbekistan’s own progress.” - Mr. Lin explained.

During an informal meeting with think tanks and academia and a dinner with local and foreign business and finance leaders Mr. Lin discussed their work and obtained their views on the opportunities and challenges facing the Uzbekistan economy. He also met with the Uzbek media at the press conference attended by local media outlets and answered their questions.

Justin Yifu Lin joined the World Bank in June 2008 as the first Chief Economist from a developing country. Prior to that, he was founding Director and Professor of the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University. He is the first World Bank Chief Economist from a developing country.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Merrell J. Tuck-Primdahl
Tel : (202) 473-9516
In Tashkent
Matluba Mukhamedova
Tel : (998 71) 238 59 50