Detail of the Tillakori Medrese in Samarkand, an Islamic university from the 17th century. The building was long used as a mosque.

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.

Metro station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Reform drive following long period of stagnation Internal link

On taking office, President Mirziyoyev embarked on an ambitious programme of reforms. The government's overall priority is to increase per capita income so as to achieve upper middle income levels by 2030.

Father and son in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Limited opportunities for young people Internal link

So far, the government of Uzbekistan has not succeeded in allowing all sections of the population to share in the country's positive economic development. Only a small number of people can be counted as upper or middle class.

Customers in front of a market hall in Uzbekistan

On the road to more openness Internal link

The Uzbek economy is strongly dependent on world market prices for its main exports (gas, metals, cotton) and the economic health of its major trading partners, China and Russia.

Aral Sea: left 2014 and right 2000, 1960 extent black line

Troubled legacy of decades of exploitation Internal link

Although Uzbekistan faces many environmental problems, there is still little public awareness of the issues.

German development cooperation with Uzbekistan

Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, at a meeting with Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan (January 29, 2020)

Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, at a meeting with Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan (January 29, 2020)

Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, at a meeting with Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan (January 29, 2020)

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.

Mother and child ward in the hospital in Almalik, Uzbekistan

Tangible progress made Internal link

The quality of health care in Uzbekistan has worsened since the country gained independence. The medical infrastructure suffers from outdated technology and inefficient systems.

Textile workshop in Uzbekistan

Removing barriers, creating jobs Internal link

In Uzbekistan, Germany is funding programmes in the areas of technical and vocational education and training, agricultural value chains, the development of the finance sector and support for small and medium-sized businesses.