First Deputy Minister of Housing and Communal Services of Uzbekistan, Mr. Dilshod Azimov, and Country Director of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Uzbekistan Resident Mission, Ms. Cindy Malvicini, on June 10 signed the memorandum of agreement to advise on public-private partnerships (PPPs) to improve municipal water infrastructure in Samarkand, Bukhara, Namangan and Karshi, according to UzDaily.

The Government of Uzbekistan has reportedly 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 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 US$7.7 billion, including two private sector loans totaling US$225 million.  ADB also provided US$6 million in equity investment, US$218 million in guarantees, and US$93.1 million in technical assistance grants.  In 2018, ADB committed five loans totaling US$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.