Uzbekistan in focus amid central Asia’s growing investment appeal
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Uzbekistan in focus amid central Asia’s growing investment appeal


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will host its 32nd annual meeting and business forum in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 16 -18 May 2023.

The event, expected to be the largest of its kind in the region, is being organised under the theme of ‘Investing in Resilience’ and will provide a platform for government officials, financial and corporate executives, entrepreneurs, civil society, and international media, to exchange knowledge, promote business activity and participate in a programme of events.

EBRD’s choice of Uzbekistan is a natural extension of the bank’s strengthening relationship with the country. Last year alone EBRD invested almost $900 million in 26 projects in Uzbekistan, making the country central Asia’s leading recipient of funding from the bank for the third year running.

This is a recognition of the country’s growing investment attractiveness and a favourable regulatory environment, which enabled the EBRD to finance a number of major deals, including the largest renewable energy projects in the regions where it operates. In addition, Uzbekistan – supported by the EBRD – held the first plenary session of the Foreign Investors’ Council at the end of last year. The session serves as a platform for dialogue between foreign investors and the Uzbek authorities fostering economic reforms.

One of the event’s key elements is the investment outlook session on Uzbekistan, which is an opportunity to exchange information and views with the international business community about the country’s prospects and opportunities for investment and growth.

Together with this, the three-day programme will country and region-specific sessions, as well as expert discussion panels on a range of topics, including:

  • In the context of its Trade Facilitation Programme event, the EBRD will look at best practice and responses to the war on Ukraine, as well as green trade, with a focus on trade finance development in central Asia and the Caucasus.

  • With a growing number of central Asian cities joining the EBRD’s Green Cities initiative – which helps municipalities set out their sustainable development vision and strategic objectives – the bank will showcase replicable and scalable examples of resilient infrastructure projects from central Asia and the wider region. The discussion will focus on attracting and mobilising the private sector to support resilient infrastructure projects.

  • The EBRD will present its flagship macroeconomic research – Regional Economic Prospects. The interactive discussion will cover the latest economic forecasts for the regions where the EBRD invests. It will touch upon challenges that policymakers are confronted with in the world of inflationary pressures and repeated economic crises.

  • Some of the most carbon-intensive in the world, central Asian electricity systems are facing the dual challenge of energy security and climate change.  The region’s abundant solar and wind potential calls for combined efforts by policymakers, investors and financiers to scale- up renewables as a cornerstone of the regional energy transition.

  • Policymakers and investors need to be aware of the short and long-term challenges Ukraine faces during the war and those that the country will have to deal with in the post-war period. The EBRD’s annual meting will help to take a broad look at the historical experience of war and peace and examine the impact that armed conflicts have had on economic performance and political, social and population trends, both during the wars and after they end.

  • A special panel will highlight the critical role small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play in the economies of the regions where the EBRD invests. It will help explore the multiple ways of helping SMEs to thrive and to increase awareness of the problems and innovative digital solutions peculiar to SMEs. 

  • The rapid influence of digitalisation in recent years has brought new avenues for financial inclusion in emerging markets. For financial institutions, new technologies and digital business models bring potential for new ways to engage with and attract customers, simplify processes, save clients time by performing operations remotely and offer greater non-financial services.

  • Given the ongoing climate and food security crisis, the agri-food sector in central Asia must avail of all opportunities to develop and contribute to global value chains, but with consideration for its distinctiveness and comparative advantages. Digital technologies can drive the ‘green revolution’, boost efficiency and reconcile productivity with sustainability. Innovative solutions across the sector are plentiful: precision agriculture technologies, controlled-environment agriculture, nature-based solutions and biodiversity approaches.

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