TASHKENT, February 27, 2019 – Uzbekistan is making strong progress implementing challenging economic reforms to support growth and build opportunities for citizens, says Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia. Visiting Uzbekistan on 26-27 February, Mr. Muller reaffirmed the World Bank’s continued support for the country’s transformation agenda.
Mr. Muller met with Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, and other senior government and parliamentary officials to discuss the ongoing efforts to build a successful market economy, reform state institutions, expand citizen engagement, improve health and education, and modernize the country’s large agriculture sector.
“Broad economic reforms are helping promote greater transparency and accountability, leading to better public services for citizens,” said Mr. Muller during his visit. “Continued reforms in the business environment, the banking, financial and energy sectors, land and agriculture and especially health and education will boost private sector investments, create jobs – especially for young people – and help the country achieve sustainable economic growth.”
Among citizens of Uzbekistan, support for the country’s reform agenda remains high. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the World Bank, Listening to Citizens of Uzbekistan, about 95% of respondents from 4,000 households across Uzbekistan express optimism for the country’s economic future. And nearly 80% of the respondents are eager for more opportunities to engage with the government on important policy decisions.
During his two-day visit, Mr. Muller also visited Westminster International University in Tashkent, where he met with students, business leaders and journalists to discuss the opportunities that the social and economic transformation brings to the citizens of Uzbekistan, especially women and young people, to participate in the economic future of their country.
“Uzbekistan has a young, rapidly growing working-age population, with about 500,000 new job seekers entering the labor market each year,” said Mr. Muller. “That is why it is so important to maintain the reform momentum, invest in people’s health and education, and ensure everyone has an opportunity to realize their full potential. I am very optimistic for the future of Uzbekistan.”
The World Bank is supporting Uzbekistan through the implementation of 19 projects, totaling over $3.32 billion. These projects contribute to the implementation of macroeconomic reforms, the improvement of agriculture and water resources management, energy, transport, healthcare, education, urban development, water supply and sanitation services, and support the country’s economic growth.