By Kamila Aliyeva
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) eyes long-term cooperation with Uzbekistan as it continues to heavily invest in the country.
As part of its new engagement in Uzbekistan, the EBRD is channeling funds into the country’s pharmaceutical industry to renew production facilities, foster research and development and support export potential, according to the bank's press release.
A loan of up to $11.2 million will support the construction of a new plastic ampoules production facility at Mutabar Medical Standart LLC (Mutabar), Uzbekistan. The blow-fill-seal (BFS) equipment to be installed at Mutabar will ensure better product safety and a high degree of sterility.
This is a modern technological process that also reduces the cost of medicines since the ampoules are produced in-house, in compliance with the highest industry standards. It will help increase the overall quality of production and replace widely used glass ampoule injections in Uzbekistan.
Part of the loan is earmarked for research and development, which will allow Mutabar to introduce new generic products otherwise not available on the domestic market.
“A properly functioning pharmaceutical sector can make a big difference to the quality of people’s lives. This project will support necessary innovation, the impact of which will be felt in hospitals across Uzbekistan. It will also make Mutabar more competitive domestically and in the Central Asia region,” EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett said.
Davron Abdullaev, director of Mutabar Medical Standart, noted that the introduction of new plastic ampoules to the market eliminates the risk of human injury and eases the process of waste utilisation.
Previously, the bank approved a $120 million credit line to the republic for three projects. In addition, the EBRD intends to allocate another $300 million to Uzbekistan by the end of next year. The bank plans to develop projects in various sectors of the economy, including municipal infrastructure, support of financial institutions, agriculture, commerce and other areas.
Uzbekistan joined the EBRD in 1992. According to the EBRD, the bank invested almost 900 million euros in the country and implemented about 54 projects in energy, entrepreneurship, transportation, construction, development of mineral resources, etc.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to 11.6 billion euros ($12.3 billion) committed to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development. It has successful experience of bringing innovation to Uzbekistan’s pharmaceutical sector through direct and indirect lending and a number of consultancy projects, which helped companies improve operational and financial management and obtain ISO 9001 and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificates.
The Bank has to date invested 894 million euros in Uzbekistan. Its current portfolio in the country is 8 million euros.
Currently, the Bank together with the involved ministries and departments of Uzbekistan is in the process of development a draft of the EBRD country program for Uzbekistan, which will further expand the Bank's interaction with the Central Asian nation.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to approve a new country program for Uzbekistan next summer.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz