TASHKENT, March 11, 2023 – Anna Bjerde, World Bank Regional Vice President for Europe and Central Asia region, visited Uzbekistan from March 8 to March 11, 2023, as part of a broader visit to Central Asia. During her visit, Ms. Bjerde met with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as senior government and parliamentary officials, and beneficiaries of World Bank-funded projects. She also took part in high-level consultations on the Country Climate and Development Report that is currently under preparation.
While in Uzbekistan, Ms. Bjerde held productive talks with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Chairperson of the Senate of Oliya Majlis (Parliament) Tanzila Narbaeva, Head of the Presidential Administration Sardor Umurzakov, Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev, Director General of the Agency for Strategic Reforms Shukhrat Vafaev, Minister of Economy and Finance Sherzod Kudbiev, Minister of Energy Jurabek Mirzamakhmudov, and other senior government officials.
In her meetings with the counterparts, Ms. Bjerde emphasized the progress on implementing the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Uzbekistan. Launched last year it supports the Government’s plans outlined in the National Development Strategy for 2022-2026, including reforms and modernization of key social and economic sectors. The Parties also reviewed current and upcoming Bank-funded projects in support of the National Development Strategy.
Ms. Bjerde and the counterparts devoted the discussions to actions to further reduce poverty, sustain high inclusive and sustainable economic growth, ensure energy security, boost energy efficiency and production of renewable energy, as well as accelerate market reforms such as restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises and state-owned banks.
The Parties agreed to work closely on improving health, education, and social protection services, as well as putting in place new reforms aimed at the modernization of the agriculture sector. Gender equality and economic empowerment of women received significant attention in the discussions. Ms. Bjerde reiterated that the World Bank will remain steadfast in its support of Uzbekistan’s reforms and development initiatives.
“I am excited to see Uzbekistan continue its transformation, and I am grateful for the strong partnership we have with the Government across the most important sectors of the economy and the social spheres,” noted Anna Bjerde.
Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Kuchkarov and Ms. Bjerde chaired the high-level consultations on the Uzbekistan Country Climate and Development Report and the Long-Term Strategy for Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategies. The World Bank is preparing these documents in cooperation with the authorities and development partners. They will help inform the country’s sustainable growth strategies and identify specific actions needed to decarbonize the national economy, develop greater resilience to climate change, and build a greener economy.
Ms. Bjerde visited Samarkand region, where she had a chance to assess the impact of the World Bank-funded projects on beneficiaries and local communities. Ms. Bjerde was informed about the activities of a local agricultural enterprise that benefited from financial and technical support under the Horticulture Development Project (HDP). It supplies new varieties of fruit trees resilient to climate change to the local horticultural producers across Uzbekistan.
Over 1,100 sub-projects were implemented under the HDP. They helped create roughly 35,000 jobs—13,000 of which employ women, improve food security as well as increase the productivity and export potential of numerous farmers and agricultural enterprises that received the Project’s financial and technical support.
Ms. Bjerde also spoke with students and instructors at a local employment support center. This is one of 30 centers in all regions of the country benefiting from equipment for developing skills in 12 professional areas, which was purchased under the Strengthening Social Protection System Project. Thousands of citizens were able to get new jobs and launch new businesses after completing professional training courses in these centers.
The World Bank’s country program in Uzbekistan is among the largest in Europe and Central Asia region. It consists of 28 projects, with net commitments totaling around $5.7 billion. They are supporting reforms and modernization in various social and economic sectors, improving the well-being of citizens, and contributing to the country’s economic growth.