EBRD Approves New Strategy For Uzbekistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a new strategy for Uzbekistan, setting out the bank’s priorities in the country until 2029. The EBRD’s strategic approach to operations in Central Asia’s most populous state will be based on activities in three areas: supporting decarbonization, greater water efficiency and cleaner energy; developing the private sector and fostering employment, skills, inclusion and the digital transition; and improving economic governance, the business climate and infrastructure connectivity, the bank said on January 26th.

Under the first priority, the EBRD will work with the authorities to further decarbonize the national economy and increase the share of renewable energy in the total power output. It will pay special attention to creating low-carbon pathways and reducing methane emissions under Uzbekistan’s Global Methane Pledge commitments. The EBRD will also support the commercialization and modernization of power distribution and transmission networks, and channel further funds into modernizing and upgrading water, wastewater and irrigation facilities.

Under the second priority, the EBRD will expand its support to the country’s private sector by providing direct financing, credit lines to small and medium-sized enterprises, and risk-sharing through local partner banks and trade finance facilities to support increased energy efficiency and women- and youth-led enterprises. Domestic small businesses will continue benefiting from the EBRD’s Business Advisory Services programme. The bank will also promote further digitalization in the private sector, the expansion of e-commerce and the development of local capital markets.

Under the third priority, the EBRD will continue supporting the transformation of and governance improvements to state-owned enterprises and banks. It will support privatization, including through pre-privatization engagements; provide advice and financing to encourage the wider use of public-private partnerships; and support public-private sector dialogue through the Foreign Investors Council to help increase foreign direct investment. The bank will continue working to enhance regional and global connectivity, including through policy engagements and financing to improve transport connectivity and regional power trading, and help lower trade barriers.

Uzbekistan is the leading recipient of EBRD funding in Central Asia for the fourth year running. To date the bank has invested around €4.28 billion in 147 projects across the country, most of which support private entrepreneurship and investment.