President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the Oqsaroy February 16 met with President of the Asian Development Bank Haruhiko Kuroda who arrived in Uzbekistan to partake in the international conference “Fostering an Educated and Intellectually Advanced Generation – Critical Prerequisite of Sustainable Development and Modernization of Country” in progress in Tashkent.
Greeting the guest, the head of our state noted that the ADB is by right one of the most prominent and influential international financial institutions with which Uzbekistan is tied with long-standing and reliable bonds of partnership. Testifying to this fact is the bilateral constructive cooperation that has led to Asian Development Bank approving thirty-five joint projects totaling more than 8.6 billion US dollars with ADB funding share exceeding 3.8 billion dollars.
Cooperation of Uzbekistan with the ADB has included such areas as support for reforms in education and healthcare, modernization of power generating capacities and power industry infrastructure, of railway and motor road infrastructure, public utility services, structural transformation in agriculture, strengthening the financial sector.
A special place in Uzbekistan-ADB partnership is attached to interaction in reforming the education system in Uzbekistan whereby eight joint schemes totaling some 300 million US dollars have been executed.
The current state of bilateral relations is distinct with dynamism and a wide spectrum of cooperation areas. The annual growth of ADB operations in Uzbekistan has reached 1 billion dollars within the last few years. In this regard, it is highly symbolic that 508 million-dollar loan agreements for four projects worth 950 million dollars overall have been signed during ADB President’s current visit.
In addition, highly significant has been the Asian Development Bank’s 17 January 2012 decision to take part in funding the project of Ustyurt Gas and Chemical Complex at Surgil deposit with arrangement of deposit and overall volume of credits and guarantees constituting 400 million US dollars. ADB support for this project unique to CIS is vital as a catalyst for attracting foreign direct investments and loans.
Along with bilateral cooperation, Uzbekistan and the ADB have been active in addressing critical regional issues that has resulted in commissioning of power transmission lines to secure uninterrupted supply of 1.2 billion Kilowatt/hours of power per annum from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan; the successful completion by Uzbekistan Railways state stock company of the first railroad in the history of Afghanistan that has linked the cities of Hairaton and Mazar-Sharif. These joint projects have come to constitute a crucial input into the consolidation of peace, socio-economic reconstruction in the post-conflict Afghanistan as well as the enhancement of regional economic cooperation in Central Asia.
Another, latest dimension of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the ADB has become the development of alternative energy sources. As part of solar power initiative brought forward by ADB chief Haruhiko Kuroda during the Bank’s 2010 annual meeting in Tashkent, deals were reached on February 16, 2012, on setting up a joint international research institute of solar energy, with Uzbekistan’s Academy of Sciences, to create an eminent center for the development of modern technologies in alternative energy sources.
President Karimov has awarded the ADB President Kuroda a high state reward – the order “Buyuk Khizmatlari Uchun” (For Great Services) – for the latter’s remarkable contribution to bolstering cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions, the energetic assistance in executing the socio-economic reform program, the expansion and reinforcement of regional partnership.
ADB President expressed sincere gratitude to the leader of our country for the warm welcome and high attention, and underscored the Asian Development Bank’s willingness in boosting its cooperation with Uzbekistan.
At the meeting, the sides exchanged views on the current state of bilateral cooperation, defined priority dimensions of further expanding partnership relations, and discussed enhancing regional cooperation in Central Asia.