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Dilshod Azimov, First Deputy Minister of Housing and Communal Services, and Cindy Malvicini, Country Director of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Uzbekistan Resident Mission, signed the memorandum of agreement to advise on public-private partnerships (PPPs) aimed at improving municipal water infrastructure in Samarkand, Bukhara, Namangan and Karshi, the ADB representative office reports.

“This is a historic event and we hope that jointly with ADB we will successfully implement this project. We believe that this project will help us to engage highly qualified and experienced private water operator to improve delivery, quality and rendering of water supply and sanitation services to residents of these four cities,” First Deputy Minister Dilshod Azimov said. “Ministry of Housing and Communal Services will be taking a lead role in preparation and implementation of this project”.

The Government of Uzbekistan has identified the water supply and sanitation sector as one of the top priorities in the national development agenda and has initiated a series of reforms including introduction of PPPs to spur the sector’s development. 

“ADB is very pleased to support the Government of Uzbekistan in introducing projects on PPP basis in the water supply and sanitation sector,” Cindy Malvicini noted. “ADB will act as the advisor to the Government to prepare and structure the water supply and sanitation projects in the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Namangan and Karshi and help procure private partners by early 2021.”    

As one of the first PPP projects in Uzbekistan in a critical social sector, the ADB advisory services will help demonstrate how the private sector participation can be involved in improving the operations and management of existing water supply and sanitation systems in Uzbekistan with strict performance targets for the private operator. It will also help bring additional investments and international expertise to support further improvements in the sector. 

Since joining ADB in 1995, Uzbekistan has committed 72 loans totaling $7.7 billion, including two private sector loans totaling $225 million. ADB also provided $6 million in equity investment, $218 million in guarantees, and $93.1 million in technical assistance grants. In 2018, ADB committed five loans totaling $1.1 billion to improve power generation efficiency, primary health care services, access to finance for horticulture farmers and businesses, access to drinking water in the western part of Uzbekistan, and economic management in the country.