1 Dec 2023 14:05

World Bank to provide Uzbekistan with $50-mln loan to develop digital economy

TASHKENT. Dec 1 (Interfax) - The World Bank will provide Uzbekistan with a concessional loan of $50 million in order to assist the country in developing the digital economy and creating jobs in the field of information technology, the World Bank said in a press release.

"The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a $50 million concessional loan to implement the Uzbekistan Digital Inclusion Project," according to the press release.

"The project aims to support the development of the digital economy and broaden access to digital skills and employment opportunities in information technology-enabled services for thousands of young people in rural and remote locations," the World Bank said.

"The new World Bank-supported project will help Uzbekistan use the IT enabled services (ITES) as a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and foreign investments. It will be implemented by the IT Park under the Ministry of Digital Technologies with the objective of training thousands of people under the age of 30 residing in rural and remote locations. Moreover, the project will provide incentives to ITES companies to employ these trained individuals," noted Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan.

"The export of ITES from Uzbekistan has experienced a significant surge, rising from $600,000 in 2017 to $140 million in 2022. This growth has been accompanied by an increase in the number of companies and high-paying jobs within the information technology sector. Despite these positive developments, the contribution of the information and communications technology sector to the national GDP remained modest at 1.9% in 2022," according to the press release.

"According to the 2030 National Development Strategy, by the end of this decade, the country plans to transform into a Central Asian IT hub, increase the annual volume of IT exports to $5 billion, attract 1,000 foreign IT companies to launch operation in Uzbekistan, and provide employment opportunities for 300,000 youths in the IT sector," the World Bank said.

The World Bank program in Uzbekistan currently consists of 25 projects totaling about $5.22 billion.