With more than 28 million people, Uzbekistan accounts for 45 percent of Central Asia’s total population and is located directly to the north of Afghanistan, making it a crucial development partner in tackling the challenges facing the region. A former Soviet Republic struggling to modernize its economic and social policies and infrastructure, Uzbekistan is facing serious challenges generating jobs for its young and rapidly growing population.
With few opportunities at home, a large number of Uzbeks migrate to Kazakhstan or Russia for work, putting them at great risk of human trafficking and infectious diseases. The country once had a solid manufacturing base, but current restrictions on access to financing make it difficult for Uzbek firms to update their equipment or start production in new sectors. With more than two-thirds of Uzbekistan’s population residing in rural areas, agricultural development is crucial to increasing local economic opportunity and addressing rural poverty and food security.
USAID is helping Uzbekistan tackle these challenges. USAID works to improve the livelihoods of citizens by supporting private sector development in the agriculture sector, and strengthening the country’s ability to address the threats of infectious disease and human trafficking. USAID also supports grassroots community efforts and government reform initiatives to bolster the limited role civil society plays in guiding Uzbekistan’s development.
- USAID has taught new farming techniques and introduced technologies that result in higher quality produce, increased crop yields and higher incomes to thousands of farmers in 16 percent of Uzbekistan’s districts.
- In 2012, USAID anti-human trafficking programs and campaigns reached approximately 51,000 vulnerable Uzbeks.
- USAID supported Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health in developing policies that lay the foundation for more effective tuberculosis services that save more lives.
Economic Growth and Agriculture
Agriculture production is a key engine of Uzbekistan’s economy. Cotton is the country’s largest agricultural export, but more profitable horticulture exports are growing quickly, averaging an estimated $1 billion annually. USAID focuses on increasing horticultural productivity and farmers’ incomes. Our activities help farmers achieve immediate results through improved farm techniques and more efficient technologies. To increase family incomes through post-harvest management, USAID trains households to process fruits and to use small-scale cold storage facilities to prevent spoiling. USAID also collaborates with government entities to foster domestic and regional trade by lowering internal and external trade barriers. USAID helps Uzbek firms improve their export capacity and fosters business-to-business networking events.
Democracy and Governance
The Uzbek government is focused on reforming the judicial sector and improving ties between civil society and government. USAID supports these efforts by helping civil society engage the government on crucial issues and working with government entities in support of judicial reforms. USAID encourages parliamentarians to be responsive to the citizens they represent and to collaborate with their counterparts in the U.S. Congress through exchange visits. Our work with local governments has improved the delivery of local services, such as trash collection, increased citizen participation in decision making, and provided more clean drinking water for rural communities. USAID also works to combat human trafficking in Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most migratory country and a source country for human trafficking. Last year, USAID assistance to a local, grassroots organization helped more than 3,000 trafficking survivors rebuild their lives.
Uzbekistan continues to struggle with increasing rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB), a problem that is further aggravated by high migration rates and outdated treatment options and health practices. USAID is bringing international best practices to Uzbekistan to help the country more effectively combat infectious diseases like TB and HIV/AIDS. For example, USAID is improving the accuracy of TB laboratory diagnostics by training health care workers and implementing a new program that promotes better monitoring of TB treatment through electronic tracking of treatment sessions. USAID, with the World Health Organization and other implementing partners, is working with the Ministry of Health to draft a new policy that will replace old, inefficient health practices with modern ones. This is expected to greatly improve tuberculosis treatment in Uzbekistan. USAID also introduced an improved financial management system that now supports 3,200 rural primary health care facilities — covering nearly the entire rural primary health care sector.
Last updated: November 19, 2013