ADMINISTRATOR SAMANTHA POWER: Thank you. Well, I had a very lengthy and productive discussion with the President on the whole host of issues that USAID and the U.S. government is working with the Uzbeck people on. That ranges from a new announcement, that I'm making today in fact, about additional resources to combat TB, tuberculosis. We discussed USAID support for schools in Uzbekistan, and today I'm announcing additional resources to support the production of materials and the training of teachers in Uzbek schools. We've already provided materials, actually to 10,000 Uzbek schools. We talked about small- and medium-sized enterprises, and I'll be bringing additional resources to support businesses who work in the agriculture, the tourism, and the clean energy sector, a growing sector, of course, here. And we've all just experienced COVID, and this horrific pandemic, we're also investing new resources, as of today, in preventing future pandemics and making sure that there is more preparedness in hospitals and in terms of civic education than there was before COVID.
So these are some of the specifics that we discussed, but we have a broad agenda that aligns with the economic reforms and the anti-corruption drive that the President is pursuing. We discussed the importance of political reforms, accompanying economic reforms, so that people who see corruption, or who see leaders who are not implementing this vision, are able to raise their voice, and bring that to the attention of those who want to combat corruption. And we talked about the future of the U.S.-Uzbek relationship, which we think is very, very bright.
Right now, I think the relationship between our two countries has actually never been stronger, and yet, it is growing stronger every day. One of the priorities for the President as well, of course, is regional connectivity, that is going to create many more job opportunities for young people, if there is the transportation infrastructure, and some of the digital connectivity that USAID is seeking to support regionally.
Tomorrow, I'll be in Samarkand, meeting with the Central Asian, the five Central Asian trade ministers, to discuss what more the United States can do to help catalyze that regional connectivity. That will bring more jobs and more opportunity, both to the Uzbek people and of course, to the people in neighboring countries.
QUESTION: How would you evaluate an implementation of programs of reforms in Uzbekistan in recent years?
ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Look, and I discussed this at length with the President, I think it is fair to say that in many domains, there have been more reforms in the last five or six years than in many, many years before combined. So, some of the reforms in combating trafficking, the gender-based violence law that was passed that people had been hoping to see passed for so many years, are just two examples of those reforms.
But it is, you know, still the case that we would like to see, and the President would like to see, less bureaucracy getting in the way of investment. So there's more progress that can be made on ease of social services, on digitization, on what we might call deep bureaucratization – you know, getting the bureaucracy out of the life of the citizens. That's something we in the United States are working on, as well. And, seeing the commitments that the President has made to constructive opposition, to the free press that he very much recognizes, needs to be allowed to expose corruption when it happens. I think we're very much looking forward to seeing progress going forward in those domains as well – additional progress.