By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Uzbekistan and the World Bank (WB) plan to sign a number of loan agreements in 2019. Among these agreements, there is a project on connecting the users of the republic to the high-speed Internet Digital CASA.
This became known after the negotiations of Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov with a WB delegation, led by Vice President Cyril Muller, who is on a visit Uzbekistan on February 26-28.
"In 2019, approval and signing of loan agreements on a number of significant projects is expected: development of entrepreneurship in the Fergana Valley, digital Uzbekistan (Digital CASA), reconstruction of water supply and sewerage systems in several regions of Uzbekistan," the ministry said.
At the talks, it was also announced that the WB plans are growing. In particular, it is planned to radically expand the range of areas to include four new ones: energy (alternative energy sources), the financial sector, transport and logistics, and agriculture.
The Digital CASA program, implemented by the WB Group, aims to expand access to high-speed Internet for the landlocked countries of Central Asia and some regions of South Asia.
It will enable these countries to be connected to the interregional and intercontinental data transmission infrastructure, which will also provide an opportunity to improve cross-border cooperation.
At the national level, the goal of the program is to provide the population with access to reliable and affordable Internet, attract private investment in the ICT sector, and increase the capacity of governments in the provision of electronic public services to citizens and businesses.
Digital CASA projects in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan were approved by the World Bank's Board of Directors in March 2018.
Uzbekistan is currently preparing for the launch of the project, and its implementation should begin in 2019. In the future, participation in the program of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and other states is possible.
The current portfolio of cooperation of Uzbekistan with the WB includes 39 implemented and ongoing projects with the attraction of concessional financing in the amount of $ 4.4 billion. They contribute to the country’s economic growth and higher living standards for the people of Uzbekistan.
In the framework of the Partnership Strategy for the period up to 2020, more than 20 promising new initiatives are being considered. The WB actively provides consulting assistance to our country, in particular, its experts took part in the development of the Concept for reforming the tax system.
Founded in 1944, the WB has 189 member countries, staff from more 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations. WB has more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide.
Today the Bank Group’s work touches nearly every sector that is important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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