Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, paid her first official visit to Uzbekistan on May 14-18. Ms. Bjerde met with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, senior government and parliamentary officials, representatives of civil society and the private sector, and international development partners.
“The World Bank welcomes the Government’s plans to continue a transparent and inclusive market transition and implement difficult but much-needed market reforms, despite the COVID-19 crisis. We will further support the reform agenda through our new Country Partnership Framework. It will define priority areas for the Bank’s financing and advisory services from 2022 to 2026 and will be aligned with Uzbekistan’s next development strategy,” said Ms. Bjerde.
The World Bank Vice President had productive talks with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Chairperson of the Senate of Oliy Majlis (Parliament) Tanzila Narbaeva, First Deputy Chairperson of the Senate of Oliy Majlis Sodiq Safoyev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov, and Minister of Finance Timur Ishmetov.
The discussions focused on the Government’s efforts to enact market reforms, reduce poverty and unemployment, raise the living standards of the population in rural areas, improve access to health, education, social protection, and water supply services, create conditions conducive for private sector-led growth, and improve the business and investment climate.
The parties also considered the progress Uzbekistan has achieved in the areas of reforming public institutions, state-owned enterprises, financial, energy, transport, and other economic sectors, eliminating forced labor and reducing gender inequality, introducing a green growth model, and expanding trade and transport connectivity across Central Asia.
Ms. Bjerde participated in a signing ceremony for World Bank loans totaling $289 million and a Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs grant of $7.8 million. The financing will allow the Government to implement projects on improving access to water supply and sanitation services for 500,000 people in three regions of Uzbekistan, and developing a market-oriented National Innovation System.
During her visit to Tashkent, the World Bank Vice President also met with representatives of civil society, the private sector, and international development partners to discuss how the Bank can work more effectively with these stakeholders to help the Government continue important reforms.
Uzbekistan was one of four countries in Ms. Bjerde’s first official visit to Central Asia. She also visited the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Ms. Bjerde, a Swedish national, became the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia on May 1, 2020. In this position, she leads the Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational, and knowledge work in the region.
The World Bank supports Uzbekistan through technical assistance and the financing of 24 projects totaling around $4.3 billion. These projects provide support in critical areas such as macroeconomic reforms, agriculture, health, education, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, social protection, urban and rural development, as well as mitigation of health, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.