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. This was reported by the EBRD press service on Friday.

According to the new five-year strategy, the bank’s strategic approach to operations in Central Asia’s most populous state will be based on activities in the following three areas:

  1. supporting decarbonization, greater water efficiency and cleaner energy;
  2. developing the private sector and fostering employment, skills, inclusion and the digital transition;
  3. improving economic governance, the business climate and infrastructure connectivity.

Under the first priority, the EBRD will work with Uzbek 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 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.

Attention will be directed toward the support of increased energy efficiency and women- and youth-led enterprises. Domestic small businesses will continue benefiting from the EBRD’s Business Advisory Services program.

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.

The bank will support privatization, including through pre-privatisation engagements; provide advice and financing to encourage the wider use of public-private partnerships.

The EBRD will 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.

This work is designed to “improve transport connectivity and regional power trading, and help lower trade barriers,” the bank statement reads.

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.

The EBRD reopened a representative office in Uzbekistan in November 2017. The bank stopped projects in the country in 2010. Its previous strategy for Uzbekistan was adopted in 2018.