EBRD: Uzbekistan moving away from inward oriented economy (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.2

By Nigar Guliyeva – Trend:

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) bank assesses that Uzbekistan's economy is moving away from an inward oriented economy towards a more open, integrated and export driven one, the EBRD told Trend.

The Bank stressed that the 5 September 2017 soum liberalization reform has been a significant game changer.

“The country is making progress in many fronts affecting the business environment positively overall, but continues to face many challenges,” the bank said. “The Bank follows with anticipation the country's reforms programme and supports its success.”

The EBRD expects GDP growth to increase from 5.4 percent in 2017 to 6.2 percent in 2018. But inflation is also expected to accelerate.

In 2018, the Central Bank also expects raise in inflation risks due to external factors. The CB notes that the rate of inflation in 2018, as in the current year, will be high - 11.5-13.5 percent on an annualized basis. Uzbekistan's economic growth rate will be 5.5-6 percent, according to the CB.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to €11.6 billion ($12.3 billion equivalent) committed to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development.

To date, the EBRD invested €864 million in Uzbekistan in 57 projects. After more than a decade absence from Uzbekistan, the EBRD relaunched its activity in the region in 2017.

During 2017, EBRD delivered six signed operations with total value of $191 million spread over banking, manufacturing and agribusiness sectors, launched the Small Business advisory programme, started dialogue on a number of key business climate themes and developed a strong pipeline of new projects.

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