Samarkand became the first city in Uzbekistan to join the EBRD’s Green Cities programme. The Bank is providing the city with a $49 million loan for the purchase and deployment of up to 100 electric buses.
Mastercard announced the official opening of its first representative office in Uzbekistan. The company also signed a MoU with the EBRD to increase digital opportunities for small business owners, especially women.
Sergei Guriyev warned that Central Asian countries could face a major threat to their economic growth as Europe tightens sanctions on Russia and shuts the loopholes that allow it to evade them. He also said that GDP growth based on military production does not improve living standards.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Chief Economist Beata Javorcik and Regional Economist Eric Livny told Gazeta.uz about the new threats to the economy, the successful strategies for attracting investment and the significance of public support for reform.
Central Asian economies have proven resilient to adverse geopolitical headwinds. The EBRD forecasts that the region’s economies will grow by at least 5.2% on average in 2023 and by around 5.4% in 2024.
The President of Uzbekistan, speaking at an EBRD forum in Samarkand, outlined priority areas of cooperation with the bank, such as reducing poverty, developing a green economy, and increasing PPPs in various sectors, including infrastructure, health, education, transport and ecology.
The IMF says that the economies of Central Asia and the Caucasus were resilient and grew in 2022 despite various shocks, but the growth is expected to slow in 2023, and the region’s outlook is strongly influenced by external factors.
A poverty reduction programme based on China’s experience (with improved road and other infrastructure) is being implemented in 14 districts of Uzbekistan, including the Chilanzar district of Tashkent. Starting next year, the programme could cover the whole country.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced a new $1 billion programme “20,000 entrepreneurs — 500,000 qualified specialists”. The programme will provide entrepreneurs who train and employ poor citizens with loans, tax and customs preferences, infrastructure and land. The programme will start on June 1.
Ulugbek Rozukulov, head of Uzavtosanoat, and Akylbek Japarov, chairman of the Kyrgyz Cabinet of Ministers, launched the construction of the Altyn Tulpar Unaa Kurulush passenger car and commercial vehicle assembly plant in Chui region.
At a meeting on energy supply in Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev discussed the expected rise in electricity consumption during the summer period. He criticised hokims and the Energy Minister for failing to calculate expected load coverage.
The President ordered the creation of a fuel reserve for gasoline and diesel. He also announced that loans will be provided to fuel importers to supplement their working capital. In addition, he set a target of installing 900 electric car chargers across the country by the end of 2023.
Uzbekistan’s international reserves in April decreased by $230 million to a total of $35.2 billion. The decline was mainly due to a reduction in foreign currency reserves.
President unveiled measures to reduce poverty and unemployment, such as signing contracts with businesses to train workers, providing preferential access to infrastructure and credit, implementing a new program based on China’s experience, and revising the procedure for granting loans and subsidies.
The European Union is considering new sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine. According to Reuters sources, the sanctions may target companies from China, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that help Russia circumvent sanctions already imposed.
Uzsuvta’minot secured a €200 million loan and grant from Germany’s KfW Bank to improve drinking water and sewerage services in Surkhandarya and Ferghana regions. Aqua Consult Ingenieur also signed a memorandum for a sewerage project in Samarkand’s regional centres.
“Uzbekistan must be associated with stability, reliability and predictability for foreign investors. We are ready to create all conditions for every German businessman to feel free and confident in our country,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev told German business leaders at a meeting in Berlin.
Uzbekistan signed a loan agreement worth €45 million and a grant agreement worth €5.5 million with Germany’s KfW Development Bank to support the country’s healthcare system digitalisation.
Food prices in Uzbekistan increased by 1.2% in April 2023, while non-food prices increased by 0.5% and services increased by 0.5%. The largest increase in food prices was for tomatoes, which rose by 21.3%, followed by rice (14.1%), carrots (13.2%), and sugar (10.5%).
Over 50% of Uzbekistan’s domestic tourists prefer to travel with families, a recent survey by the Institute for Macroeconomic and Regional Studies suggests. However, poor road quality, high prices, and limited access to water, Internet, and sanitation facilities were the main concerns reported.
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