7 Dec 2023 12:11

ADB approves $100 million loan for Uzbekistan to support small businesses

TASHKENT. Dec 7 (Interfax) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $100 million to Uzbekistan to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and stimulate economic growth in the country.

"ADB's program will help strengthen the operating environment for SMEs to stimulate private sector-led economic growth and improve their resilience to future economic shocks such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the bank said in a press release.

The program will support the government in comprehensively addressing the key challenges faced by SMEs in terms of access to financing. These challenges stem from limited access to more diverse forms of finance in a sector dominated by banks with high interest rates and high collateral requirements. The program will help ease regulatory and administrative burdens that increase the cost of doing business and disproportionately impact women's businesses, improve the trade competitiveness of SMEs through diversification of export products and markets, and increase productivity through digitalization.

"The program enables systematic reforms, supported by ADB's continued support to small and medium-sized enterprises in Uzbekistan. As the country continues to implement key structural reforms to transition from a state-owned to a market economy with a prudent overall macroeconomic position, SMEs will play a significant role in accelerating diversified economic growth, productivity and formal employment with added value," Evgeniy Zhukov, ADB Director for Central and Western Asia, is quoted as saying.

Uzbekistan joined the ADB in 1995. To date, the bank has provided the country with $10.8 billion in loans, grants.