Former EBRD President Chakrabarti: Uzbekistan to diversify its agriculture sector
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 7
By Ilkin Seyfaddini - Trend:
The future prospects for Uzbekistan’s economy are very positive, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Overseas Development Institute and former President of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Sumantra Chakrabarti told Trend in an interview.
"Provided the ambitious market-oriented reforms continue to be implemented and inflationary pressures managed, then growth should return sharply as recovery from the pandemic’s effects takes shape. Indeed, the World Bank forecasts Uzbekistan to grow by six percent next year," said Chakrabarti.
Chakrabarti added that the government of Uzbekistan have a lot to do, as per capita income is still under $2,500, which is less than 20 percent of the global average.
“For the vision of President Mirziyoyev to create more jobs and reduce poverty in Uzbekistan to be realized, the economy needs to be opened up further to external competition, further diversification is required, including within the agriculture sector (where cotton is still too dominant), greater access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises (including for female entrepreneurs), restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises and state owned banks will be required, as will more investment in transport and energy," stressed Chakrabarti.
In his words, the government of Uzbekistan should find more balanced path to growth, benefiting all regions and, in this regard, revitalizing the Aral Sea region (e.g. by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises) must be a priority.
Building more capable public institutions – more effective governance – must be integrated in to the future plans for the country.
“I am very optimistic that President Mirziyoyev, his government, and the people of Uzbekistan will seize this opportunity. The last three and a half years have shown there are real returns to economic and political reforms. I am sure there will be no turning back," stated Suma Chakrabarti.
Suma Chakrabarti served as President of the EBRD from July 2012 to July 2020. Sir Suma was knighted in 2006 for his work in international development.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev awarded Suma Chakrabarti with Dustlik Order on June 14, 2020. The signed document underscored his merits "in establishing a strategic partnership and expanding multifaceted cooperation" between Uzbekistan and EBRD.
On July 2, 2020, Overseas Development Institute announced the appointment of Chakrabarti as its next Chair of the Board of Trustees.
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