The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to hold its 2023 shareholder meeting in Uzbekistan, Odile Renaud-Basso, the development bank’s president said in an interview with Uzreport TV.
“What I'm confident about is that it will be a physical meeting. The annual meeting is a good opportunity to have exchanges with the countries and businesses among all the countries of operation in order to better adjust and ensure that what the bank is doing is in line with what the countries need,” Renaud-Basso said.
According to Renaud-Basso, last year was an exceptional year in that the EBRD committed a very high level of investment to Uzbekistan. EBRD's investment in the country's economy amounted to $1.8bn in 2020.
“It's important to underline that in 2020 Uzbekistan became the first and largest recipient of the bank's funds in the region and we covered a number of areas. One of our key priorities is the development of green financing and renewable financing because as you know Uzbekistan has engaged in some commitments in view of the decarbonisation of the economy and we have worked very closely with the government on the development of a decarbonisation strategy which was approved at the beginning of last year. The other sort of financing we provided was financing to SMEs through banking; we lend some money to the banks and they lend to small and medium-sized companies which are very important for the country's development,” Renaud-Basso added.
Referring to plans to help Uzbekistan become carbon-neutral, she noted: “Very recently we approved financing for a $60mn, 100 MW renewable energy project for the construction of a solar photovoltaic plant”.
Asked about EBRD assistance provided to Uzbekistan amid the coronavirus pandemic, she said: “Our assistance is expected to remain quite large. It also very much depends on the state of reforms in the country. The reform agenda of the country is very ambitious. Uzbekistan was the only country that had positive growth in 2020 [in economies EBRD invests in], so that's a very strong outcome. We are looking forward to continuing to accompany the reform agenda of the country and supporting the development of the private sector. We also have a programme to support women entrepreneurship. It is important to facilitate the role of women in the business sector. Another priority is the digitalisation of the economy. And I think this is an area which is also promising in Uzbekistan.”
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