Uzbek officials attend ADB workshop promoting public-private partnerships

Uzbek officials attend ADB workshop promoting public-private partnershipsThe Asian Development Bank (ADB), under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program conducted a public-private partnership workshop in Tashkent on 24 June 2010.

About 50 Uzbekistan government officials from various ministries and agencies attended the workshop. Public‐private partnerships have been gaining recognition in many developing countries as an important means of mobilizing private sector capital and expertise for infrastructure investments and service provision.

“Public-private partnership can help develop infrastructure and services without burdening public resources,” said Kazuhiko Higuchi, ADB’s Country Director for Uzbekistan in his opening remarks. “In Uzbekistan, with its rapidly growing economy, public-private partnerships have a great potential.”

The workshop focused on the objectives, advantages, structure, and implementation of public-private partnerships. Hong Wang, Principal CAREC Coordinator, Arthur Smith, Chairman of the US National Council for public-private partnership, and Elaine Glennie, ADB’s Senior Finance Specialist, facilitated the workshop.

“As of today, ADB has supported 52 public-private partnership projects totaling US$4.4 billion in water supply, transport, energy and telecommunication sectors. Among Central Asian counties public-private partnership projects have been successfully implemented in Afghanistan, Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, and Pakistan. ADB will further scale up public-private partnership in its member countries,” said Ms. Glennie.

The initiative to promote public-private partnerships was endorsed at CAREC 7th Ministerial Conference in November 2008. Three workshops were conducted last year in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia, and two have been held this year – in Dushanbe and Tashkent.

7th Ministerial Conference of CAREC also endorsed holding a Business Development Forum (BDF) in Urumqi, People’s Republic of China on 29-30 July 2010 that will support private sector participation in regional initiatives, encourage foreign direct investment in priority infrastructure projects, and promote collaboration among private and public sector organizations in CAREC countries. The BDF will discuss the challenges of public-private partnerships and showcase business and investment opportunities in the region.

Initiated in 1997, the CAREC Program is a partnership of eight countries and six multilateral institutions working to promote development through cooperation and support accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. By promoting and facilitating regional cooperation in the priority areas of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy, CAREC seeks to help Central Asian and neighboring countries realize their significant potential in an increasingly integrated Eurasia.

The eight CAREC countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The Program’s six multilateral institution partners are the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank.

CAREC operates in partnership with other key regional cooperation programs and institutions, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Community. ADB’s CAREC Unit (CARECU) has been serving as the Program Secretariat since March 2000.

Uzbekistan joined ADB in 1995, and to date has received over US$1.945 billion on a project basis and US$2.53 billion on a commitment basis. ADB has also extended US$41 million in technical assistance. In April 2010, ADB approved four loans totaling US$1.14 billion on a commitment basis.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of US$16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation program, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. ADB also mobilized co financing amounting to US$3.2 billion.