The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed an agreement with the Government of Uzbekistan to explore ways of increasing its investment activity in the country.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and the authorities in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, on March 16.
According to the EBRD, the signing came towards the end of a visit by President Chakrabarti and a senior delegation from the Bank. An official meeting was held with Uzbekistan’s President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The delegation also met with First Deputy Prime Minister Achilbay Ramatov. There were discussions with Minister of Finance, Batyr Khodzhaev; Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulaziz Kamilov; Minister of Economy, Galina Saidova; First Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Sodiq Safoyev; Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alisher Shaykov; and several officials including those from the Central Bank of Uzbekistan and the National Bank of Uzbekistan.
The discussions with the authorities explored opportunities for cooperation with Uzbekistan.
The MoU signed with the government reportedly sets out these areas for potential cooperation. It includes a potential program of advice and financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, a trade finance program to support cross-border trade and cooperation, and measures to improve the competitiveness of the Uzbek economy, including through attracting foreign direct investment that will result in the transfer of technology and know-how.
The EBRD President signed an agreement to work with Uzbekistan to address the legacy of Soviet-era uranium mining and processing in the region, under the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia supported by the EU.
Suma Chakrabarti also met representatives from private sector companies, the diplomatic community, other international financial institutions and civil society organizations.
After the official meetings, President Chakrabarti spoke at an event for students and staff at the Westminster International University in Tashkent. He told them how the EBRD invests in the region and the contribution that the students could make to their country’s development and in the Bank.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to €11.6 billion (US$ 12.3 billion equivalent) committed to date to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development.
The Bank has invested €894 million in Uzbekistan. In 2016, we delivered €9.4 billion of investment, equaling the record amount achieved in 2015. Its current portfolio of €8 million in the country is managed from Tashkent and London.