EBRD commits $20mn to fund Uzbek entrepreneurs via Ipak Yuli Bank, provides $238mn for road revamp

By bne IntelliNews May 5, 2024

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced a $20mn (€18.8mn) financial package for Uzbekistan’s Ipak Yuli Bank to support micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) and empower young entrepreneurs.

The financial support includes a $10mn loan under the EBRD's Youth in Business (YiB) programme, aimed at fostering youth entrepreneurship and employment in Central Asia, and an additional $10mn specifically for supporting small businesses within Uzbekistan.

Ipak Yuli Bank's entry into the YiB initiative expands its scope within Uzbekistan's financial landscape, offering eligible small firms access to comprehensive support services such as training programmes, advisory services, and networking opportunities facilitated by the bank's Advice for Small Businesses programme.

For the fourth year running, Uzbekistan ranks first for EBRD funding in Central Asia. With a track record of investments totalling €4.44bn across 154 projects in the country, the development bank has prioritised initiatives aimed at fostering private entrepreneurship and driving economic growth.

The EBRD, meanwhile, has also announced a financial commitment to improve essential transportation infrastructure in Uzbekistan, aiding small businesses.

With a pledge of $238mn, the EBRD intends to support the improvement and enlargement of a key transportation artery within the nation.

The EBRD loan will fund the repair and widening of around 81 kilometres (50 miles) of the 4R156 road, as well as the construction of a bridge over the Amu Darya River in Uzbekistan's Khorezm region in the western part of the country.

The 4R156 road is vital since it connects Urgench, which is the regional administrative centre, to the A380 road that leads to Kazakhstan. This makes it an essential part of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor 2.

The EBRD's 2024-2029 strategy for Uzbekistan focuses on environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. It aims to create greener cities, improve water efficiency and transition to cleaner energy sources. The strategy also addresses governance issues and aims to enhance transparency. As Uzbekistan continues its economic reform, the EBRD's strategy aims to support related efforts by emphasising sustainability, digitalisation and better governance.

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