TASHKENT (TCA) — The Republic of Uzbekistan and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have opened a new chapter in their relationship by signing two landmark loans that will be beneficial to both the country and the environment, the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan said on October 17.
A EUR 100m loan will finance water and wastewater projects within the framework of the EU sponsored Climate Action and Environment Facility. This operation will help Uzbekistan to better address its high external water resource dependency and the scarcity of locally available freshwater resources. Some 80% of the water used in Uzbekistan originates from neighbouring countries.
A second EUR 100m loan, designed as a credit line, will help implement the energy-efficiency investments of small and medium-sized enterprises, mid-cap companies and private sector entities in Uzbekistan. The EIB funding will support the Uzbek Government’s objective to reduce the country’s energy intensity level by at least 50% by 2030, and the industrial sector has a strong potential for improvement in this respect.
Vazil Hudák, EIB Vice-President responsible for Central Asia, commented: “We are delighted that the first EIB loans ever signed in Uzbekistan are being concluded one year after the launch of EIB operations in this country. They will help the local economy and at the same time contribute to mitigating negative climate change impacts. The two loans will help modernise water infrastructure and promote the shift to more efficient and environmental-friendly technologies. By financing green-minded investments in energy-intensive industries, the EU bank is contributing to meeting the sustainable development goals with affordable and clean energy and climate action”.
Sukhrob Kholmuradov, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Investment Committee of Uzbekistan, stated: “We welcome the involvement of the EIB in Uzbekistan. With the signing of the two initial operations in the water and energy sectors, we are raising our cooperation to a new level in the practical application of the framework agreement between Uzbekistan and the EIB on the Bank’s activities in our country. We appreciate the EIB’s further support in ensuring sustainable economic development in Uzbekistan for the implementation of the most important social infrastructure projects, promoting green energy and the development of new energy-efficient technologies.”
Ambassador Peter Burian, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, commented: “We welcome the EIB’s decision to launch its first two loans to the Republic of Uzbekistan. This support in the areas of water management and energy efficiency are of particular importance for strengthening our cooperation with Uzbekistan in promoting development and environmental sustainability in the Central Asian region, which is fully consistent with the priorities of the EU and the Government of Uzbekistan. This EIB loan reflects the growing cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan over recent years, and we encourage our Uzbek partners to take full advantage of this. It is obvious that any tangible goals, particularly in the areas of development and the environment, are only achievable through joint action and cooperation, and we are happy to see this spirit in the relationship between the EU and Uzbekistan.”
Both projects are being developed in cooperation with the World Bank and are expected to receive technical assistance support from the Investment Facility for Central Asia, which is managed by the European Commission and supports Central Asian countries in undertaking priority investments contributing to inclusive and sustainable growth.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by its Member States.
The EIB’s lending operations in Uzbekistan support the EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia. This strategy recognises the increasing importance of Central Asia for the EU and aims to strengthen the links between the European Union and its neighbouring countries by promoting prosperity, stability and security.