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Interview with AUCC Chairperson Carolyn Lamm Before 2012 Uzbekistan-US Annual Business Forum

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ADB, Uzbekistan to Focus on Inclusive Growth and Regional Cooperation

4 September 2012

http://www.adb.org of 10/4/2012 - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Uzbekistan have agreed on a new five-year country partnership strategy (CPS) for 2012-2016 that will focus on promoting inclusive growth through diversifying the economy and expanding regional cooperation.

"Uzbekistan is one of the fastest-growing economies in Central Asia, and aspires to become an upper middle-income country by 2020. Its main priority is to sustain its remarkable economic growth, create more jobs and improve the welfare of its citizens," said Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director of ADB's Uzbekistan Resident Mission.

The new strategy will focus on transport, energy, municipal services, water, and access to finance. The CPS will also prioritize governance, regional cooperation and integration, private sector development, knowledge management, gender equity, and climate change.

Uzbekistan has made major welfare gains, with the percentage of the population below the poverty line decreasing from more than 25% in 2005 to 16% in 2011. Per capita income has nearly trebled in the last seven years to $1,580, on the back of prudent macroeconomic management and a favorable external environment.

Strategic assistance under the CPS will promote industrial development, accelerate economic diversification, and support the private sector. ADB will also support improvements in infrastructure and promote small and medium-sized enterprises, both essential to job creation.

The CPS also supports Uzbekistan's commitment to regional connectivity and trade through the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programs.