May 15, 2014
Unique Format: Multilateral Dialogue
Arab Coordination Group is one of the world’s leading financial organizations supporting a variety of projects in the given region. The organization comprises representatives of the Islamic Development Bank, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, OPEC Fund for International Development, and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Experts point out that these organizations possess giant financial resources and invest in various large-scale infrastructural and industrial projects in the region.

In 2012, Arab Coordination Group held a meeting in Tashkent, suggestive of the multitask and mutually beneficial cooperation between this organization and Uzbekistan. During the meeting, the parties agreed to cooperate in the realization of 15 projects aimed at equipping medical organizations, schools and higher education institutions with necessary facilities, as well as developing alternative energy sources, upgrading water supply and sewerage systems, and implementing a number of other plans. The total sum of projects to be carried out by the end of 2017 amounted to $582 million.

Islamic Development Bank has become Uzbekistan’s largest partner in this multilateral cooperation. The country became its full member in 2003. The bank is the key and coordinating player in the attraction of Arab Coordination Group investments and loans sent to upgrade Uzbekistan’s infrastructures and industries. Last year the parties celebrated the 10th anniversary of their relations, and the cooperation between them is getting more and more active year by year.

Uzbekistan and the Bank have carried out ten projects totaling $186 million for this past number of years, another ten projects totaling $640.9 million are underway, and nine more others totaling $877 million are pending.

The parties cooperate in the areas of transportation, energy production, agriculture, education, health care and regional development. The special field of this cooperation is small business and private entrepreneurship. The projects being carried out in cooperation with Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector, which is the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, are aimed at fostering development of Uzbekistan’s ‘small economy’. The corporation has established a leasing company in the country and allocated $50 million for distributing among Uzbek commercial banks to make loans to small businesses. According to experts, this measure has already proved beneficial – it has helped to set up a number of new companies and launch business projects, especially in the regions. The total sum of the small business loans received from the corporation has exceeded $83 million.

Standing out among the recent projects is the $36 million-worth scheme to upgrade the Tashkent street lighting system. Its objective is to secure the electricity consumption reduction through installation of energy-efficient equipment. They plan to replace over 110,000 mercury and sodium vapor lamps with up-to-date and economical ones, with better light emission. Besides, they are going to replace the existing power delivery system with a computerized lightning remote control one.

The cooperation with Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development began in 2004, when a memorandum of cooperation between the parties was signed during the visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Kuwait. Within the framework of this document, such projects as Tashkent-Tukimachi Railway Section Electrification and the Equipment of 171 Emergency Medical Aid Stations have already been implemented. The irrigation and drainage rehabilitation system projects in Jizzakh and Sirdaryo regions and Ghuzor-Chim-Kukdala Highway reconstruction project are still being implemented. The parties have carried out various projects totaling $110 million for the past several years.

The cooperation between Uzbekistan and Saudi Fund for Development began at the meeting of Arab Coordination Group in Tashkent in July, 2007, after signing a memorandum of understanding setting the framework for the cooperation with this organization. Currently, the fund helps Uzbekistan to carry out a number of social projects, including equipment of medical centers and reconstruction of international highways.

OPEC Fund for International Development was established by OPEC members to assist developing countries to improve their infrastructures.

The finances of the fund come from OPEC members’ voluntary contributions and the profits received by the fund from its investment and loan-making operations. The cooperation between Uzbekistan and the fund began in 2000 under Investment Stimulation and Protection Agreement signed by the parties. The agreement provides for the two new unique projects being currently implemented in our country. Under one of them, alternative energy source equipment is to be installed in 632 schools throughout Uzbekistan. The total cost of the project is $21 million. The other project is aimed at reconstruction of irrigation and drainage networks in a number of country’s regions. This project is to be finished this year. The reconstruction works under it have already been completed over the territory of 432,300 hectares in area.

The relations with the members of Arab Coordination Group show the unique format of mutually beneficial multilateral dialogue. The parties implement unique projects that lay the base for the future prosperity of Uzbekistan and the whole Central Asian region.

(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)


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