Tashkent, November 7, 2015 – World Bank Group Vice Presidents Mr. Cyril Muller and Mr. Dimitris Tsitsiragos concluded their visit to Uzbekistan today noting the country’s considerable growth, diversification, and poverty reduction in the past decade. They also reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s support to Uzbekistan in the coming years.
In their first visit to the country since assuming current posts the Vice-Presidents were accompanied by Mr. Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia, Mr. Tomasz Telma, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, Mr. Moazzam Mekan, IFC Regional Manager for Central Asia, Ms. Lisa Kaestner, WBG Practice Manager, and Mr. Junghun Cho, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. The WBG delegation also took part in the International Investment Forum, held in Tashkent on November 6.
In his opening speech, Mr. Muller, the World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia, noted ambitious targets for the next phase of Uzbekistan’s development, as well as the challenges the country faces. He also highlighted the value of public-private partnerships and noted that both the public and private sector arms of the World Bank Group aim to help create jobs and prosperity for the people of Uzbekistan.
“'Uzbekistan is making great strides in developing a conducive environment for the private sector,” said Mr. Muller, “This year's Doing Business reflect the positive reforms in simplifying business and property registration, improve access to credit by establishing a collateral registry, as well as changes to the methodology for the trade indicator to better reflect the true cost of doing business in landlocked economies. Still, there is much to be done... Increasing the size and scope of the private sector should continue to be a leading priority for the Government as we live in a competitive world where investment and job creation follow economic opportunity.”
Mr. Tsitsiragos, the International Finance Corporation’s Vice-President for Global Client Services, pointed to opportunities where the private sector could play a key role in achieving sustainable growth.
“The private sector is central to Uzbekistan’s development objectives, particularly when it comes to creating jobs and diversifying the economy, " he said. “That’s why IFC is committed to supporting private sector efforts to boost the efficiency and productivity of the economy, while strengthening links with regional and global markets.”
The World Bank Group Vice-Presidents also met with the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Islam Karimov, First Deputy Prime-Minister, Mr. Rustam Azimov, and the Minister of Economy and World Bank Governor, Mrs. Galina Saidova. In the meetings, the WBG Vice Presidents noted significant economic achievements during more than 20 years of mutual collaboration and expressed strong support for the next five years with an aim to support the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts to create half a million jobs per year and improve efficiency in agriculture and service delivery.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods by partnering on 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. Current World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to over US$2 billion.
Uzbekistan became an IFC member in 1993. Since 1996, IFC has invested $104.7 million, including $12.9 million mobilized from partners, to support 27 private sector projects in the financial, agribusiness, and food sectors. As of June 30, 2015, IFC’s portfolio in Uzbekistan stood at $12.9 million.