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 struggling 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 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 has helped bring about re-forms in the justice sector, including the adoption of a judicial code of ethics and expanded defendant rights.
- 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.
- USAID assisted Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health in developing data-supported policies that provide for more effective tuberculosis services and help save lives.
Economic Growth and Agriculture
Agriculture production is a key engine of Uzbekistan’s economy, with cotton being the primary crop produced for generations. However, since independence in 1991, cotton production has fallen by more than 35 percent and today accounts for only 8 percent of national export earnings. To diversify the agriculture sector beyond cotton, USAID partners with the Government of Uzbekistan on a number of initiatives in areas such as horticulture, irrigation, produce packaging and distribution. USAID assistance brings together farmers, agricultural firms, processors, water users associations and agricultural research institutions in support of increased and improved production, 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, as well as hosts 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 govern-ment. USAID supports these efforts by helping civil society engage the government on crucial issues, working with gov-ernment 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 parliamentarians to be responsive to the citizens they represent and to collaborate with their counterparts in the U.S. Congress through exchange visits. As 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: February 25, 2015