The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Shejal Pulivarti:
On December 12, Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman met with Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov to discuss broader cooperation opportunities for Uzbekistan’s reform agenda, particularly in health, education, and the civic space, as well as concerns over the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
During the meeting, Deputy Administrator Coleman underscored USAID’s commitment to supporting Uzbekistan’s independence and regional connectivity. The Deputy Administrator commended Uzbekistan’s commitment to diversifying its economy, developing its human capital, and increasing employment opportunities amid the dynamism of the Central Asia region. Deputy Administrator Coleman and Minister Norov also discussed plans for deepening cooperation in primary and secondary education, including workforce readiness and entrepreneurship.
Deputy Administrator Coleman and Minister Norov discussed how Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues to impact Uzbekistan. The Deputy Administrator reiterated USAID’s unwavering support for Uzbekistan’s most vulnerable households, particularly in light of steeply rising energy costs and food insecurity. Recognizing that the climate crisis only exacerbates these conditions, Deputy Administrator Coleman and Minister Norov exchanged ideas on how to best promote efficient use of food, energy, and water in Uzbekistan and across Central Asia more broadly. USAID is planning to allocate $2 million to help Uzbekistan’s fertilizer producers improve production, operations, sales, and exports. This is expected to increase production by up to 20 percent and create more than 1,000 new jobs, alleviating strain on Uzbekistan’s poorest households.