The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a $200 million financing package for the Second Rural Enterprise Development Project (REDP) aimed at supporting the establishment and expansion of farms and rural enterprises in 10 regions of Uzbekistan. The financing comprises a $180 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a $20 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA).
REDP will help create new jobs and ensure a flow of funding to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as to financial institutions, in Tashkent, Syrdarya, Jizzak, Samarkand, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Navoiy, Bukhara, Khorezm and Karakalpakstan.
The Bank financing under the project will be focused on measures to stimulate rural sector growth and address gaps in service delivery and access to technology for rural entrepreneurs. The project supports the Government of Uzbekistan’s “Strategy for Agriculture Development of Uzbekistan in 2020-2030.”
MSMEs are engines for economic growth and development globally, and in Uzbekistan. However, limited investment funding for MSMEs remains an essential obstacle to their growth and the entry of new firms. The sector is also in need of better access to advisory services and business development support. REDP is designed to provide both financial and non-financial support for rural MSMEs and financial institutions in Uzbekistan.
“The World Bank is proud to continue the partnership with the Government of Uzbekistan, building on and expanding the work of the ongoing Ferghana Valley Rural Enterprise Development Project (FVREDP), which has to date supported some 450 small and medium enterprises and helped create 7,850 jobs,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “The new project will support climate-resilient investments in rural areas, offer business advisory and business development, promote building of value chains and productive partnerships between producers, processors and traders, and support women’s entrepreneurship in rural communities.”
A major component of REDP is addressing key constraints to access to finance faced by farmers, agribusinesses and other beneficiaries engaged in agriculture and rural economic activities through the expansion of two financing instruments: a credit line and partial credit guarantees. REDP will also provide technical support to new and existing farms, agribusinesses, and rural enterprises in those target regions.
The World Bank has provided extensive support to the implementation of the government’s 2017-2021 Development Strategy. The Banks’ program in Uzbekistan comprises 26 projects in areas such as economic management, agricultural modernization, water resource management, health, education, potable water and sanitation, energy, transport, social protection, urban and rural infrastructure, the national innovation system and tax administration, and the government’s response to the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under its new five-year Country Partnership Framework, which is currently being prepared, the World Bank will continue providing financial and analytical support to the Government to implement reforms outlined in Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy for 2022-2026.