Tashkent, Uzbekistan, February 19, 2019—A
new IFC and World Bank study shows that Uzbekistan can create private-sector-led,
export-oriented economic growth by reforming and modernizing promising
sectors such as air-transportation connectivity, information and communication
technology (ICT), chemicals, and horticulture sectors.
The two institutions’ first joint Country Private Sector Diagnostic for
Uzbekistan identified a strategy for creating markets in these sectors,
which currently face significant modernization and investment needs. Prepared
in close consultation with the government and private sector stakeholders,
the report, Creating
Markets in Uzbekistan,
highlights that attracting investment to these sectors—currently dominated
by state-owned enterprises—will require regulatory reforms, increased
competition and efficiency, and greater government capacity.
Resource-rich but landlocked, Uzbekistan has long been a centrally planned
economy. But it has changed fundamentally since 2016. The country is moving
towards a more open, integrated and export-driven economy with reforms
aimed at supporting the private sector.
“With systematic reforms, better infrastructure, and a greater role for
the private sector, Uzbekistan can make use of its unique mix of abundant
natural resources, favorable climate conditions, and strategic location
at the crossroads of Europe and Asia to emerge as a regional hub for trade
and investment,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Latin America
and the Caribbean, Europe, and Central Asia.
The study recommends that sector-specific
measures in these sectors be complemented by economy-wide reforms that
will help Uzbekistan overcome development challenges associated with employment,
private enterprises, exports, and energy efficiency.
In the past five months, since the draft report was initially shared with
the government of Uzbekistan, the authorities have already taken several
policy reforms. They include abolishment of export controls, a new tax
system, no visa requirements for 45 countries, creation of new PPP agency,
unbundling of a national airline Uzbekistan Airlines, among many other.
With these and the upcoming reforms, Uzbekistan will be able to develop
to its full potential for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
“The World Bank Group stands ready to help the Government of Uzbekistan
address and tackle the constraints that are preventing different sectors
of the economy from achieving their fullest potential,” said, Lilia Burunciuc,
World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “This support, both financial
and advisory, will be targeted at deepening reforms to drive investment
and modernization in these sectors of the domestic economy.”
The study also identified other sectors that have the potential to generate
more sustainable and higher-paying employment and drive development in
Uzbekistan—including transport infrastructure, finance, tourism, retail
chains, and food production.
Country Private Sector Diagnostics provide
in-depth analysis and offer recommendations for leveraging private sector
solutions to achieve development objectives. Jointly produced by the World
Bank and IFC, diagnostics are underway in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guinea, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon,
Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa,
and Tunisia. For more information on the diagnostics, click the link.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme
poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions:
The World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA);
the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment
Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of
Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries,
these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that
enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.
For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org,