Uzbek banks double capital in five years, fuel $15.6bn investment surge and job creation

Uzbek banks double capital in five years, fuel $15.6bn investment surge and job creation
Uzbekistan's banks doubled their capital in five years. / Uzbek Presidential Press Service
By Mokhi Sultanova in Tashkent May 22, 2024

Over the past five years, the capital of Uzbekistan's banks has doubled, while the lenders' loan portfolios have expanded by 2.3 times and their annual lending volumes have surged by 1.8 times, according to the country's presidency. 

The growth in capital is attributed to a favourable investment climate and increasing financial stability in the country, officials said.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has reviewed the participation of banks in attracting foreign investment. Four banks issued eurobonds for the first time, raising $1.3bn. 

In 2023, the banks secured $3.8bn in foreign loans, with large clients independently attracting an additional $6bn without government guarantees.

The National Bank of Uzbekistan and SQB (formerly known as Uzpromstroybank) are at the forefront of these investment activities. This year, the former plans to implement projects valued at $6bn. 

Among these, 526 projects worth UZS2.1 trillion ($165.3mn) in the jewellery industry and over 40,000 service sector projects supported by loans totalling UZS41.8 trillion ($3.3bn) are expected to generate employment for more than 2.5 mn people.

Similarly, SQB aims to attract $3.1bn from the international financial market in 2024. The bank's clients have already embarked on investment projects worth a combined $4.8bn. 

Over the next two years, SQB plans to secure $2.8bn in foreign investments to support 529 projects in the construction materials industry, projected to create 25,000 jobs.

Both banks are also involved in grassroots employment initiatives, with the National Bank focusing on 967 districts and SQB on 727 districts. These efforts aim to bring business activities out of the informal economy, promoting transparency and formal employment.

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