IMF delegation hails sharp decline in Uzbekistan’s poverty rate

IMF delegation hails sharp decline in Uzbekistan’s poverty rate
The IMF delegation praised Uzbekistan's poverty reduction efforts. / Uzbekistan government
By Mokhi Sultanova in Tashkent May 7, 2024

Uzbekistan’s poverty rate fell from 14.1% at the outset of 2023 to 11% by the beginning of 2024, according to a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Abdih Yaser, head of the IMF mission, disclosed the finding during a meeting with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Poverty Alleviation and Employment Behzod Musaev.

Yaser also commended a reduction in the Central Asian nation’s unemployment rate, which, he said, fell from 8.9% to 6.8% in 2023, thanks to concerted efforts in poverty reduction and employment generation.

At their meeting, Yaser ad Musaev also delved into various facets of Uzbekistan's labour market dynamics, including wage growth, informal employment mitigation and gender equality initiatives.

Both parties reiterated their dedication to the "Uzbekistan - 2030" initiative, aimed at fostering collaboration in addressing critical socio-economic challenges.

Uzbekistan has undertaken reforms in recent years aimed at liberalising segments of its economy and enhancing opportunities for private sector growth.

In 2023, key measures included the establishment of an autonomous energy regulator, the initiation of energy tariff restructuring, the overhaul of the state-owned railway operator, the privatisation of a major chemical plant and a bank and the division of the primary state chemical enterprise to encourage competition.

Other notable steps have included the creation of the National Agency for Social Protection, the enactment of legislation to combat gender-based violence and the expansion of free legal assistance.

Uzbekistan has also embraced a greener trajectory with the adoption of more environmental goals, the implementation of a new pollution monitoring system and the introduction of a national green classification system.

Data from the Centre for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR) and the UN Children's Fund have, meanwhile, revealed a decline in child poverty in Uzbekistan. The child poverty rate decreased from 21.5% in 2021 to 13.7% in 2023, though regional disparities were observed.
Navoi region and Tashkent city exhibited the lowest child poverty rates, while Syrdarya and Jizzakh regions reported higher levels.

The study, based on a household budget survey covering over 16,000 families, highlighted variations in poverty reduction between rural and urban areas.

However, the research underscored the importance of social transfers in mitigating poverty, suggesting that the absence of such measures could elevate the overall poverty rate to 20.8%, the child poverty rate to 21.8% and poverty among pensioners to 31.4%.

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