AKIPRESS.COM - The Board of Directors of 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 Bank’s strategic approach to operations in Central Asia’s most populous state will be based on activities in the following three areas: (i) supporting decarbonisation, greater water efficiency and cleaner energy; (ii) developing the private sector and fostering employment, skills, inclusion and the digital transition; and (iii) improving economic governance, the business climate and infrastructure connectivity.
Under the first priority, the EBRD will work with the authorities to further decarbonise the national economy and increase the share of renewable energy in the total power output. Special attention will be paid to the development and implementation of low-carbon pathways and the reduction of methane emissions under Uzbekistan’s Global Methane Pledge commitments. The EBRD will also support the commercialisation and modernisation of power distribution and transmission networks, and channel further funds into modernising 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 digitalisation 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 privatisation, including through pre-privatisation 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 (i) improve transport connectivity and regional power trading, and (ii) help lower trade barriers.
Uzbekistan is the leading recipient of the 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.