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Monday, January 22, 2018

World Bank to finance water, agricultural development in Uzbekistan

The World Bank announced on Thursday that its executive directors approved financing of approximately $410 million to support a horticulture development project and the South Karakalpakstan water improvement project in Uzbekistan.

The two projects are part of the bank's country partnership strategy, which is designed to help the country diversify agriculture to high value crops, intensify agricultural production, increase infrastructure efficiency and boost competitiveness.

"Having more jobs and better paying jobs is critically important for the well-being of people living in the rural areas of Uzbekistan," Saroj Kumar Jha, the World Bank's regional director for Central Asia, said. "The new Horticulture Development project will help create much-needed jobs by improving access to technologies, knowledge and markets, strengthening technical and managerial capacity in the farming and agri-business sectors and introducing new financial products in the financial sector."

Uzbekistan will receive a loan of $150 million for horticulture development. The country will also receive an IDA credit of approximately $243 million and a loan of approximately $18 million for water development.

"Better water management and irrigation will lead to increased farm productivity and climate resilience, and thus help farmers in South Karakalpakstan build their assets and improve their living standards," Kumar Jha said. "We estimate that 41,000 water users will be provided with new or improved irrigation and drainage services under this project. The project will bring other remarkable results as well - improved irrigation efficiency will lead to net water savings of 10 million cubic meters per year, and reduced energy costs will result in as much as $2.39 million savings per year."

Since Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992, it has received more than $1.4 billion in assistance.