WASHINGTON, June 11, 2021 – Residents of cities located in two regions of southern Uzbekistan will benefit from improved urban infrastructure and municipal services, thanks to additional funding from the Integrated Urban Development of Medium-Sized Cities Project (MSCIUDP), approved today by the Board of Directors of the World Bank. The project will be supported by a concessional credit of $ 100 million. The International Development Association, which is part of the World Bank Group, will provide it to the government of Uzbekistan at a very low interest rate and with a 30-year repayment period.
This additional funding will expand the geographic scope of the ongoing World Bank-funded project which has been implemented in Tashkent (Yangiyul and Pskent), Bukhara (Kagan) and Namangan (Chartak) regions since 2019.
The new project activities will cover selected medium-sized towns in the regions of Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya in Uzbekistan. The final list of all project cities in this part of the country will be validated over the next 6 months, in consultation with regional and municipal governments (hokimiyats), depending on local needs and economic potential.
The medium-sized towns participating in the project in Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions will benefit from an integrated and specially designed investment program which will include the following elements: improved and expanded water supply and sanitation networks; improvement of electrical infrastructure and streetlights, as well as vehicular, pedestrian and multimodal access to public transport; improved energy efficient public buildings; public spaces and reconstructed parks, road networks and associated infrastructure; and restored cultural heritage objects.
The majority of the cities covered by the project have untapped growth potential. Many are located along strategic transport corridors; some have major tourist attractions; and most are well positioned to create a range of quality service jobs for the surrounding rural areas.
All investments under the project will follow the most contemporary green design principles and aim to achieve universal accessibility. About 4 million people, or about 70 percent of the combined population of the two regions, are expected to directly and indirectly benefit from the improved urban infrastructure, municipal services and employment opportunities created by the project.
âMany countries have indeed used urbanization as an engine of development, as in the case of China, South Korea and Thailand. To achieve this, Uzbekistan needs to catch up with the backlog in urban infrastructure and services and modernize public spaces to make cities more attractive and productive, âsaid Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Director for Uzbekistan. âMid-sized cities are growing rapidly here and have the potential to generate entry-level service jobs for young people. The combination of investments in infrastructure and building the capacity of regional and municipal âhokimiyatsâ to effectively manage and maintain urban assets will transform cities into comfortable places to live, work and do business. We are pleased to support the government in achieving this important goal. “
To complement the investments, the project will also provide additional support to hokimiyats providing equipment and training to improve the management and maintenance of urban infrastructure and assets, as well as modern environmental practices and green approaches to urban management.
In addition, the project will help the government to continue to implement reforms essential for sustainable urban development, including administrative and budgetary reform that should transfer more powers and resources to governments. hokimiyats, and a reform of urban planning which should help to ensure orderly and sustainable growth of cities.
The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan will continue the implementation of project activities in the five regions in close coordination with hokimiyats participating mid-sized cities and regions, as well as key line ministries and state agencies.