ADB $93 Million Loan to Boost Skills Development and Inclusive Growth in Uzbekistan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced that it has approved a $93 million loan to help enhance competitiveness in Uzbekistan and boost inclusive growth by improving market-relevant skills development for young people and unemployed job seekers.

“Uzbekistan has significant potential to drive economic growth and create jobs but a lack of skills has been a critical constraint for private sector growth and economic diversification,” said ADB Senior Social Sector Specialist Xin Long. “This project will play a significant role in helping to boost employment in Uzbekistan, particularly for young people, and will help students and job seekers pick up the relevant skills they need to thrive in the job market of the 21st century.”

The Skills Development for a Modern Economy Project seeks to develop a skilled workforce in five priority trades: construction; textiles and garments; information and communication technology; agribusiness and food processing; and machinery-repair and maintenance.

At least 60,000 people, including 48,000 unemployed job seekers and 500 people with disabilities will benefit from the project. The project will also benefit industries seeking skilled workers and returning migrants who pursue reskilling or recognition of prior learning in the target domains. By upgrading the facilities of six technical and vocational educational institutions, the project will turn these into resource-centers for competency-based training. This will in turn benefit other training institutions not covered under the project, seeking learning resources.

“The project also represents a timely response to the coronavirus disease pandemic by supporting government expenditure on social assistance and labor market interventions,” said ADB Country Director for Uzbekistan Cindy Malvicini. “It will promote e-learning for students, trainees, teachers, and government officials.”

The project will also establish industry collaboration at key stages of skills development—from curriculum development to workplace training and job placements—while introducing skills gap surveys to enable training service providers to dynamically plan ahead to fit the future skills needs in the market.

The project will complement ADB’s planned financing of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development Program in Uzbekistan, which aims to link enterprises with skills. It will form synergies with other development partners’ support for skills development and labor market development in the country.