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AKIPRESS.COM - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a results-based loan of $500 million to support the construction of up to 29,000 new affordable housing units in nine regions across Uzbekistan as part of the State Affordable Rural Housing Program, the ADB reported.
“Improving the quality of life for many people in rural Uzbekistan starts with good quality, affordable housing,” said Takeo Konishi, ADB’s Country Director in Uzbekistan. “ADB’s assistance will substantially increase the number of families across Uzbekistan with access to housing and associated services, while serving as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth in rural areas.”
Affordable housing in Uzbekistan is in high demand in rural areas, with the quality of existing rural housing stock low. The new program will continue the ADB’s support to the rural housing in Uzbekistan implemented during 2012-2015. Over 41,500 houses were constructed, and significant employment was generated through the first program.
ADB estimates that investment in affordable rural housing will have a further substantial impact on employment, as the program is expected to generate up to 220,000 jobs in the economy. The Affordable Rural Housing Program will specifically target women, with a goal that 30% of all mortgages are issued to women over the course of the program duration.
ADB estimates that the program over a 5-year period (2017-2021) would significantly increase new piped water connections and sanitary facilities in rural areas while the energy-efficient components incorporated in the new dwelling units will reduce energy consumption. Similarly, modern heating and cooking facilities with natural gas will ease the burden faced by women and enable them to avoid harmful solid fuels, which are linked to respiratory diseases. Encouraging women’s ownership of dwelling units is likely to increase the participation of women in economic activities and contributes to their empowerment.
Ministry of Economy of Uzbekistan will administer the program which will be implemented through three Uzbek banks — Ipoteka Bank, National Bank of Uzbekistan, and Qishloq Qurilish Bank — and by the state engineering company Qishloq Qurilish Invest. ADB’s assistance will be implemented on a results-basis, with disbursement of funds over a five-year time horizon based on the completion of construction and other program implementation milestones.
The rural housing program, aligned with ADB’s Strategy 2020 core operational area of infrastructure, remains as the key investment priority of the government.
Since joining ADB in 1995, Uzbekistan has received 63 loans totaling $5.7 billion, including two private sector loans totaling $225 million, $6 million in equity investment, $200 million in guarantees, and $74 million in technical assistance grants.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.