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World Bank forecasts Uzbek GDP growth

6 October 2021

Uzbekistan’s GDP growth is projected to accelerate to 6.2 percent in 2021, given that in 2020 GDP growth was only 1.7 percent, Trend reports citing World Bank report.

The World Bank reports that economic growth is expected to rebound in 2021 as Uzbekistan strengthens its pandemic management health and social assistance costs in Uzbekistan have continued elevating the fiscal deficit.

These pressures are mitigated by greater fiscal discipline and strong external buffers, the report further said.

“The outlook for growth is favorable but contingent on improving global economic conditions and progress with structural reforms to increase private sector growth, reduce state dominance in the economy, and increase economic inclusion,” said the WB.

Uzbek reforms are beginning to address structural constraints such as absent factor markets and the state’s economic dominance. These reforms will create more room for competition and business growth and help create more jobs and incomes that help accelerate Uzbekistan’s market transition.

“However, the forecast of GDP growth to 6.2 percent remains subject to uncertainties about the continued impact of further COVID-19 waves on global and domestic economic conditions. A recovery of investment, trade, and remittances will support the economic growth and reduce unemployment and poverty in 2021,” the World Bank said.

Growth is projected to remain strong at 5.6 percent in 2022 as the pace of vaccinations accelerates and global disruptions ease further. The current account deficit is projected to be 5.9 percent of GDP in 2021 as capital imports for investment projects recover and as gold exports fall from record levels in 2020. Foreign direct investment is expected to remain subdued in 2021 and partially recover in 2022.

The continued expansion of social assistance and public investments to improve rural infrastructure, and vaccination costs, will continue to elevate public spending in 2021.

This will be partially offset by higher tax, mining, and privatization revenues, leading to a projected overall fiscal deficit of 5.5 percent of GDP in 2021. Increased public debt will finance this deficit, and public debt is projected to reach 40.6 percent of GDP by end-2021.

"COVID-19 uncertainties and a forthcoming VAT rates reduction in 2023, are likely to contribute to a higher medium-term fiscal deficit," the reports says.

A robust economic recovery, the gradual withdrawal of anti-crisis measures, and tax administration reforms to widen the tax base are projected to help consolidate public finances and stabilize debt at about 42 percent of GDP by end-2023.