IFC talks on goals of operation in Uzbekistan (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 24
By Fakhri Vakilov - Trend:
International Financial Corporation’s aim is to help companies grow and innovate, creating jobs, bolstering infrastructure, especially power systems, and supporting Uzbekistan’s goal of becoming a middle-income country, IFC Country Officer for Uzbekistan Zafar Khashimov told Trend in an interview.
“As a member of the World Bank Group, our goal is to help end poverty and create opportunity in this country. We do that by supporting the development of Uzbekistan’s private sector with both investments and advisory services” Khashimov said.
In total, IFC has invested $162.8 million in Uzbekistan, including $12.9 million from partners. That financing has supported 33 private sector projects in the financial, agribusiness, and food sectors.
“Right now, our portfolio in Uzbekistan stands at $60.2 million,” he added.
Khashimov stressed that IFC’s advisory services are designed to assist the country in piloting public-private partnership (PPP) transactions in the renewable energy and health sectors, in developing and diversifying the financial market, promoting agriculture financing, modernizing the cotton sector, and improving the efficient use of energy, water, etc.
IFC is also helping some state-owned banks become sustainable commercial financial institutions.
“For example, we provided transformational pre-privatization advisory support to Ipoteka Bank, helping it build the foundations of proper commercial banking, adopt international standards for risk and corporate governance, and develop a clear privatization plan,” he noted.
As part of the efforts to help small businesses in Uzbekistan access crucial loans, IFC has been working with several of the country’s private banks to expand local currency lending to small businesses.
“But I am perhaps most excited about our work in the renewable energy industry. Since 2018, together with our sister entity, the World Bank, we have been advising the government on how to open up the power sector to private investment by implementing the first ever competitive PPP solar project in the country Why? Because our experience around the world has shown us that private companies – with their capital and their expertise – can help revolutionize the way power is generated in developing countries,” he said.
While it’s early, IFC’s have started to see the massive potential here in Uzbekistan.
Under a pilot program, the government is now seeking private sector partners for a 100-megawatt photovoltaic plant in the Navoi region. Eleven companies have already submitted bids.
Khashimov stated that this is just the first step. The IFC believes the private sector can help with creation of photovoltaic plants in Uzbekistan, providing the country with an abundance of clean, sustainable power.
Recently Trend reported that IFC may take part in modernization of Syrdarya TPP.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. The Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country.
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