Uzbekistan accounts for 45 percent of Central Asia’s total population and is located directly north of Afghanistan, making it a crucial development partner in the region. A former Soviet Republic striving to modernize its economic and social policies and infrastructure, Uzbekistan is facing serious challenges generating jobs for its young and rapidly growing population.
Agricultural development is vital to increasing economic opportunity and addressing poverty, as over half of Uzbekistan’s population lives in rural areas. Increased trade, investment and private sector competitiveness are key to addressing the out-migration of large numbers of Uzbeks to Kazakhstan or Russia for work, which puts them at great risk of becoming human trafficking victims and contracting infectious diseases. With nearly one in four tuberculosis cases being multidrug-resistant, preventing the spread of the airborne disease is a top priority. Improving governance, supporting justice sector reforms, and increasing the operational space and capacity of civil society are also key issues.
USAID works to improve livelihoods by supporting private sector development in agriculture and enhancing trade and export linkages along the New Silk Road. USAID supports the public health system in addressing infectious diseases and civil society organizations in advocating for anti-human trafficking, improved health care, strengthened natural resource management and greater local development.
- USAID supported the drafting and adoption of new regulations and laws on government transparency and social partnership which will enhance the development of the civil society sector.
- Among USAID program participants, the aggregate value of their agriculture exports nearly quadrupled between 2013 and 2014.
- With USAID and World Health Organization support, the Ministry of Health adopted 12 new tuberculosis control guidelines that replace Soviet-era practices and strengthen efforts to stop the spread of the fatal disease.
Economic Growth and Agriculture
Agriculture production is a key engine of Uzbekistan’s economy, with cotton and wheat being the primary crops produced for generations. However, since independence in 1991, cotton production has fallen by more than 35 percent due to expansion of wheat, vegetable and fruit production and today accounts for only 10 percent of national export earnings. To diversify the agriculture sector beyond cotton and wheat, USAID partners with the Government of Uzbekistan on a number of initiatives in areas such as horticulture, viniculture, agro-processing, produce packaging and quality certification. USAID assistance brings together farmers, agricultural firms, processors, cold storage operators and agricultural research institutions in support of increased and improved production, branding, processing and marketing of fruits and other horticulture produce. To boost regional and global trade, USAID collaborates with government entities to lower trade barriers and with Uzbek firms to improve their export capacity, in addition to hosting 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, working with government entities in support of judicial reforms, assisting the Supreme Court in strengthening public trust and achieving greater alignment with international standards of civil procedure and judicial performance, and encouraging civil society organizations and government entities to be involved in national development plans for e-government and improve their capacity to utilize e-services. Because Uzbekistan is a source country for human trafficking, USAID also works with the Uzbeks to combat the illegal practice.
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. To help the country more effectively combat infectious diseases like TB and HIV/AIDS, USAID provides training and equipment for better laboratory diagnostics and electronic record keeping. USAID partners with the World Health Organization and the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation capacity of Uzbekistan’s National TB Program, enabling the Ministry to use more accurate data to improve health policy and practices. USAID provides infection control consultations for health care staff serving a population of 15 million people in 11 of Uzbekistan’s 14 regional TB hospitals. USAID is helping to reduce stigma and remove TB treatment barriers by providing free preventative services and information on how the disease is transmitted, diagnosed and treated. These services and information have reached nearly 100,000 women through collaboration with the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan and the National AIDS and TB Centers.
Last updated: March 29, 2016