TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s ongoing economic transformation and market reforms, aimed at increasing jobs and prosperity for all its citizens, will receive further support through a $500 million Development Policy Operation (DPO), approved on June 14 by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
The DPO will help sustain Uzbekistan’s economic reforms to reorient the economy towards greater private sector-led growth and job creation. Guided by the Government of Uzbekistan’s 2017 Development Strategy, the DPO supports the authorities in implementing reforms in two critical areas: 1) increasing the role of markets and the private sector in the economy, and 2) strengthening social inclusion.
“Uzbekistan’s wide-ranging reforms continue, bolstered by significant support from the country’s citizens and the international community,” said Hideki Mori, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “This DPO provides additional support as the focus of reform shifts from regulatory changes to more complex institutional reforms, which are necessary to support private sector growth, increase job creation, and ensure greater social inclusion of the most vulnerable citizens.”
According to the World Bank’s “Listening to Citizens of Uzbekistan” survey, 95% of survey participants are optimistic about the future of the country. This Development Policy Operation, which builds on a first DPO from June 2018, supports the Government of Uzbekistan in deepening and sustaining the reforms that started in 2017.
The goal is to support the Government’s efforts to increase trade and investment, strengthen financial sector efficiency, and implement key institutional changes that are critical to the country’s economic transition. The DPO also aims to help the Government ensure greater social inclusion during the transition, through reforms that increase formal jobs in the economy, strengthen skills, improve social safety nets, and increase the voice and participation of citizens in the budgeting process, the World Bank said in a press release.
Over the last 24 months, Uzbekistan has taken significant steps in transforming its economy. Following an initial wave of reforms to liberalize its currency and lift trade and regulatory barriers, reforms in recent months have focused on measures to further decrease regulatory and tax burdens, overhaul visa and tourist registration requirements, and reduce the state’s footprint in the economy. Simultaneously, reforms have also focused on strengthening human capital, reforming the labor market, and enhancing social safety nets, the World Bank said.
The World Bank supports Uzbekistan through 22 projects totaling over $3.6 billion, in addition to a comprehensive program of analytical and advisory services. These activities contribute to the country’s overall economic growth, through implementation of economic reforms, improvements in agriculture and water resources management, energy, transport, healthcare, education, urban development, and water supply and sanitation services.