By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) believes the economy of the most populous country in Central Asia will continue its impressive growth in 2020.
Uzbekistan’s GDP is expected to grow by 5.5 percent and 5.8 percent in 2019 and in 2020 respectively, fuelled by the strong performance of its industry and construction sectors.
The Bank’s latest Regional Economic Prospects report notes very significant 45 per cent year-on-year increase of exports, reflecting Uzbekistan’s trade liberalisation and regional integration policies. Significant growth of lending volumes of over 60 percent is also observed compared to the same period of 2018, which indicates growing investments in infrastructure and business activity.
The country’s average inflation rate slowed to 14.1 percent in the first three quarters of 2019.
The EBRD also welcomes further liberalisation of Uzbekistan’s foreign exchange market. As a result, the exchange rate has depreciated by around 12 per cent since early 2019.
“As of August 2019, the monetary authorities have removed the 5 per cent limit on daily exchange rate fluctuations, allowing the rate to be determined by the market. In addition, the sale of foreign currency by commercial banks is now allowed for purposes other than business or tourism travel,” says the report.
Uzbekistan joined the EBRD on April 30, 1992.
To date, the EBRD has invested €1.3 billion in 70 projects in the Uzbek economy.
A new approach by the Uzbekistan authorities has allowed the EBRD to re-engage in the country, open a new Resident Office in Tashkent and prepare a new Country Strategy adopted by the Board of Directors in September 2018.
The document identifies the following operational and strategic priorities for the EBRD’s work in Uzbekistan: enhancement of competitiveness by strengthening the role of the private sector’s role in the economy, promotion of green energy and resource solutions across sectors, support increased regional and international cooperation and integration.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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