Country Profile – Uzbekistan
Country Profile – Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s large population accounts for 45 percent of Central Asia’s total population. Its strategic location north of Afghanistan and extensive natural resources (which include gold, uranium, natural gas, and cotton) make it a potential force for economic growth and stability in the region. Development of an independent, stable, prosperous, and democratic Central Asia is vital, and Uzbekistan, as its most populous country and geographic and strategic center, plays a pivotal role in the region.
The Government of Uzbekistan has moved gradually toward a market system with a policy of import substitution industrialization and energy and food self-sufficiency. Uzbekistan, now classified as a (lower) middle-income country, has relatively well-developed capital and social infrastructure, especially compared with neighboring countries. The country has a very young and rapidly growing population and is facing a serious employment generation challenge, especially in rural areas, where over 60 percent of Uzbeks reside. The USAID portfolio in Uzbekistan focuses on economic growth, investing in people, and governing justly and democratically.
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Since 1992, USAID has helped Uzbekistan strengthen its central bank, establish the legal environment for private sector growth, and adopt international accounting standards for greater transparency of business transactions. USAID also played a key role in establishing a network of credit unions in the country. By the middle of 2010, the country had 91 credit unions with $103 million in assets that served 125,000 small businesses and individuals.
Farmers throughout the country have improved their irrigation networks and management of on-farm water in cooperation with USAID. Currently, USAID focuses on improving household incomes for the country’s farmers and strengthening agricultural businesses. USAID works to modernize on-farm technologies to heighten yields and conserve the environment while diversifying away from the country’s two major crops, cotton and wheat. Platforms for market information are being developed to provide farmers with accurate information about pricing; training programs help farmers to develop new skills. In 2010 alone, USAID introduced over 1,200 farmers to new production techniques, which doubled or tripled crop productivity and stimulated a five- to ten-fold increase in sales.
USAID assisted with implementation of the Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) strategy for tuberculosis (TB) control, including electronic surveillance activities and improvement of TB laboratory capacities. USAID helped to expand access to education for children with disabilities, who are frequently disenfranchised from society, through support for community-based and institutional care. Currently, USAID helps Uzbekistan’s governmental and nongovernmental organizations to improve HIV and TB prevention and treatment services for the most at-risk populations to prevent the spread of these diseases.
USAID’s programs enhance the ability of civil society leaders to engage with the media on critical civic issues, help political groups to improve communication with constituents, and strengthen the capacity of organizations addressing women’s issues, rights of the disabled, and the environment. USAID programs enabled Uzbek members of Parliament to visit with members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., to learn more about American governance, and improved the health awareness and conflict-resolution capacity of over 1,000 at-risk youth. USAID also assisted Uzbekistan’s response to human trafficking by supporting preventative awareness campaigns, building the capacity of local organizations, opening hotlines for the public, and assisting the shelter and reintegration of human trafficking survivors. USAID works to increase the capacity of local governments to provide better services and to govern more effectively and responsibly, cooperating with Uzbekistan’s traditional institutions, including mahallahs, or village communities.
Examples of Our Impact
- USAID laid the foundation for a credit union network that now provides financing for 125,000 small businesses and individuals.
- USAID supported the introduction of a per-capita health care financing system that encourages quality services in almost the entire rural primary health care sector.
- USAID-provided emergency health care kits supported 100,000 refugees from the Kyrgyz conflict for three months.
USAID Assisatnce to Uzbekistan
Funding Sources: Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia and Global Health and Child Survival Funds
For more information, see the FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification http://www.usaid.gov/policy/budget/
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