Roadmap for Sustainable Investment Policy Reforms will be implemented in Uzbekistan

Today the OECD, the EU and the ADB, in co-operation with the Government of Uzbekistan, launched the “Roadmap for Sustainable Investment Policy Reforms (RSIPR)” Project funded by the European Union and the Asian Development Bank.

 

On 6 March 2024, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Union (EU) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in co-operation with the Government of Uzbekistan, launched the “Roadmap for Sustainable Investment Policy Reforms (RSIPR)” Project funded by the EU and ADB. The project will provide a comprehensive assessment of the investment framework currently in place in Uzbekistan. It will allow Uzbekistan to benefit from evidence-based and up-to-date analysis and tailored recommendations to improve the investment climate, support reform implementation, and maximise the development impact of foreign direct investment in the longer run.

In his opening remarks, Mr Laziz Kudratov, Minister of Investments, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan, thanked the EU and the ADB for their financial support and the OECD for sharing their expertise. He highlighted the relevance of the project given the country’s priority of attracting FDI. He mentioned the creation of an inter-ministerial taskforce as a whole-of-government commitment to the work.

Ms Charlotte Adriaen, Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan expressed her enthusiasm for the kick-off of the RSIPR with the OECD and the ADB. She highlighted that Central Asia has become of strategic importance for the EU in recent years, and a region where positive developments can be observed. In Uzbekistan in particular, she praised the government’s resilience and efforts to advance the reform agenda. She mentioned the EU’s engagement with the country in a wide range of sectors, in the framework of the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy, the GSP+ and the WTO. She looked forward to the organisation of the first EU-Central Asia Summit which will take place in 2024 in Samarkand.

Ms Kanokpan Lao-Araya, ADB Country Director for Uzbekistan, praised the project as a good example of collaboration, both within ADB and with the OECD and the EU. As the bank will celebrate its 30 year-co-operation anniversary with Uzbekistan next year, ADB will continue supporting public sector participation to structural reforms, most importantly with SOE and financial market and infrastructure investment reforms.

Mr Stephen Thomsen, Deputy Head of the OECD Investment Division highlighted the important sustainability component of the project. He expressed the hope that a strong government buy-in, tested methodology and tailored scope to Uzbekistan will be a winning strategy.

Mr Fares Al Hussami, RSIPR Project Lead and Head of the FDI Qualities Team at the OECD, further explained the scope of the work and how the RSIPR will leverage ADB and OECD tools, including the OECD’s Policy Framework for Investment, the FDI Restrictiveness Index, the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Due Diligence Guidance, as well as ADB’s Multi-Regional Input-Output Tables.  

 Mr Golib Kholdjigitov, Head of Secretariat at the Foreign Investors Council, highlighted the independent aspect of the Council. He mentioned the Council’s work with the IFC on strengthening the legislative framework and the on-going draft of a new investment law, currently under public consultation. He stressed the importance of not rushing the process and of involving a wide range of stakeholders in the review.

Mr Timur Abdulazizov, Legal Expert from the IFC, thanked the OECD for sharing comments on the draft investment law. He explained that the main goal of the revision is to address the uncertainty with the application of investment regimes, especially for public private partnerships (PPPs) and production sharing agreements (PSAs). He also presented the main conceptual novelties to be introduced in the new law, such as a unified classification of investment projects, a clarification of institutional mandates and a new approach to foreign investor servicing.

Ms Pramila Crivelli, Economist at the ADB, highlighted that ADB’s strategic priorities in Uzbekistan aim to address the economy’s structural challenges, such as the state’s role in the economy, climate change and human capital shortages. She provided an overview of ADB’s work on building synergies between sustainable trade and investment, more specifically on regional and foreign trade agreements (RTAs/FTAs) and Bilateral Investment Agreements (BITs).

Going forward, the OECD and ADB will conduct the first taskforce and fact-finding meetings with government and other stakeholders in March 2024. The report and its final conclusions are expected to be launched at high level in mid-2025.

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