The opening ceremony of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank was held on 3 May at the International Forums Palace “Uzbekistan” in Tashkent. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov made a speech at the opening ceremony of the forum.
The head of the state said that Uzbekistan highly valued the growing cooperation with ADB and considered the bank as an important strategic partner, which in recent years has become a leading international financial institution for the country both in terms of its credit portfolio, and in the framework of regional cooperation in Central Asia.
The ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda expressed his gratitude to President Islam Karimov and the people of Uzbekistan for their great support in organizing the ADB forum – the first meeting of the Board of Governors ever conducted in Central Asia. The main goal of ADB is to promote economic and social progress in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region, including supporting economic growth, raising living standards, human resource development, and solving environmental issues, particularly related to climate change.
Founded in 1966, the Asian Development Bank today possesses large financial and technical resources. Its members include 67 states, of which 48 countries are in the Asia-Pacific region, a number of industrialized countries in Europe, as well as Canada and the USA. The bank provides financing of development and regional cooperation projects, and technical support in these areas. Particular attention is paid to assisting countries that implement socioeconomic policies aimed at enhancing national potential and quality of life.
Uzbekistan and the ADB have had a long and effective cooperation. The country became a full member of this largest international financial institution in 1995. Through implementation of its own “Uzbek model” and gradual reforms based on five principles set by the head of the state, Uzbekistan has retained macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth.
This is why the decision to hold the important forum of the ADB in Tashkent was quite logical. The country’s experience in implementation of the Anti-crisis program developed by President Islam Karimov is being studied in various countries.
As a result of effective and timely comprehensive anti-crisis measures, the GDP growth in Uzbekistan in 2009 amounted to 8.1 percent. Total investment in national economy grew by almost 26 percent, including foreign investments by 68 percent. The later figure is especially important, as it proves high confidence of foreign businesses in the country and the favorable investment climate. In the first quarter of 2010, foreign direct investment used in Uzbekistan were 2.6 times more than in the same period of last year.
A distinctive feature of the financial policy of Uzbekistan is the fact that external borrowing, including ADB credit lines, are attracted on a long-term basis to fund strategic investment projects included in the modernization and technological re-equipment program, as well as for support of small business and private enterprise.
The ADB occupies the first place among international financial institutions in terms of credit cooperation with Uzbekistan. This cooperation covers many directions, with joint projects implemented in strategic areas like transport infrastructure, energy, agriculture, small business and private entrepreneurship, water resources management, healthcare, education and others.
Uzbekistan and the ADB are cooperating in expanding the network of automobile roads and railways, in particular, development of the Uzbek national highway, which is an important part of the Central Asian regional transport corridor. One of the major ongoing projects in 2009 was the program of financing the water supply and sanitation sphere worth USD 300 million. In the framework of a similar project pipelines are laid and corresponding equipment is being installed in 170 settlements of Kashkadarya and Navoi regions.
Timely fulfillment of obligations to repay the ADB funds increases trust to Uzbekistan on the world financial markets. In the conditions of the global crisis, many investors faced insolvency of not only individual banks, but also entire countries. The banking and financial system of Uzbekistan, being one of the most stable in the Asia-Pacific region, has a large reliability reserve. Measures to strengthen the banking system within the Anti-crisis program allowed to double the banks’ cumulative capital in the past two years. The level of sufficiency of the banks’ capital currently exceeds 23 percent, which is almost three times higher than international standards set by the Basel Committee. The total current liquidity of the banking system is 10 times higher than current liabilities of banks for external payments.
At the opening ceremony, it was noted that ADB’s support of long-term economic and social programs in the Asia-Pacific region was carried out in the framework of global cooperation for sustainable development and contributes to the world progress in general.