Discussion of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the World Bank

On April 21 this year, Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan S. Umurzakov held a video conference involving Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia regions Cyril Muller, new Vice President of the World Bank for the Europe and Central Asia regions Anna Bjerde, and Bank officials implementing projects in Uzbekistan.

The participants discussed progress in joint projects and agreements on the support by the World Bank of measures and efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan to combat the spread of COVID-19 and its economic results.

The Banks’ top officials informed that they successfully completed negotiation on loan under the project ‘Emergency response to coronavirus infection COVID-19’ amounted to USD 95 million and additional financing under the project ‘Ensuring the sustainability of market reforms in Uzbekistan’ amounted to USD 200 million and expect approval of funding for these initiatives in the near future.

During negotiations, C. Muller highly appreciated the consistency and proper alignment of the priorities of the Government of Uzbekistan in measures countering the pandemic: prompt response and control of the spread of infection to protect the population, support of the operation of banks and enterprises and preservation of jobs even under strict quarantine. C. Muller expressed special gratitude to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the award of Dustlik Order. He emphasized that this was a recognition of the successful work of the entire World Bank team, which is involved in the implementation of projects in Uzbekistan, and represented a qualitatively new scale of relations and a special level of mutual trust.

The Uzbek side highly appreciated the work of C. Muller as the World Bank Vice President responsible for cooperation with Uzbekistan, and expressed gratitude for the support in bilateral cooperation.

The new Vice President of the World Bank for the Europe and Central Asia regions Anna Bjerde taking office on May 1 this year said that she was glad to have opportunity to work directly with Uzbekistan due to the positive dynamics in economic reforms and broad prospects for accelerated development of the country.

The video conference resulted in development of further actions under the cooperation in priority areas, including the reform of the aviation, electricity and gas sectors, development of the Banking System Reform Strategy for 2020-2025, the Agriculture Development Strategy, the Higher Education System Development Concept, as well as in assisting in the implementation of tax reforms and the further improvement of tax administration.

Agreement with the top officials of the World Bank will ensure continuity in work with Uzbekistan with a view to accelerated implementation of ongoing projects and the study of opportunities to expand scope of cooperation by covering new areas of interaction.

For reference: C. Muller served as Vice President of the World Bank since July 2015. Over the past period, the World Bank has become one of the key partners of Uzbekistan in structural economic reforms.

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