Copyright© LoggaWiggler, via pixabay, CC0
Uzbekistan At the heart of Central Asia
With over 32 million inhabitants, Uzbekistan is by far the most populous country in Central Asia. It plays a key role in both the economic development and the security of the region, and is thus an important partner country for Germany in terms of development cooperation.
Since 1991 Uzbekistan has been an independent republic, belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) along with other successor states to the Soviet Union.
In September 2016, Islam Karimov, who had been president of the country since it gained independence, died. That December, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, for many years the country's Prime Minister, was elected as the new president. The most important political powers are concentrated in the hands of the president. There is currently no parliamentary opposition, as none is permitted . At the parliamentary elections held in December 2014, only the four parties already represented in parliament – and close to the government – were allowed to stand for election.
Uzbekistan's economy has seen positive development in the past few years. Gold, cotton and natural gas are the country's key export products. However, only a small proportion of the population is actually benefiting from the economic upturn. Rural dwellers in particular are badly affected by poverty, unemployment and inadequate medical care.
Cooperation with Germany
Uzbekistan is one of the partner countries with which Germany is closely engaged in development cooperation based on intergovernmental agreements. Development cooperation focuses on improving health and on sustainable economic development. The aim of German involvement is to bring about tangible improvements in the living conditions of the Uzbek people.
German development cooperation with Uzbekistan
At government negotiations in May 2019, the German government committed to the Uzbek government a total of 123.8 million euros for the period 2019 and 2020 for Technical Cooperation and Financial cooperation.
The aim of all Germany's support is to bring direct and tangible improvements to the lives of the people living in Uzbekistan and to ensure that the reforms currently being undertaking are irreversible. The priority areas are health and sustainable economic development.
Efforts in the health sector are mainly concentrated on improving health in rural areas. One focus is on modernising regional hospitals. Other important areas are reproductive health, maternal and child health, tuberculosis control and training for doctors and other medical and technical staff.
Cooperation in the second priority area, sustainable economic development, was suspended for a number of years but has now been resumed. The focus here is on creating jobs and income opportunities for people in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is also covered by some of the regional programmes being implemented as part of Germany's development cooperation. These focus on areas such as the rule of law, quality infrastructure, trade, sustainable use of natural resources, vocational training and drug prevention. These regional programmes are intended to provide a forum for the exchange of experience and to encourage closer cooperation between the countries of Central Asia.