Uzbekistan’s economic freedom score is 57.2, making its economy the 114th freest in the 2020 Index. Its overall score has increased by 3.9 points due to higher scores for investment freedom, financial freedom, and property rights. Uzbekistan is ranked 26th among 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is well below the regional and world averages.
The COVID-19 crisis has almost entirely extinguished GDP growth in 2020. To mitigate the economic, social, and health consequences of the pandemic, the Government has been taking anti-crisis policy measures.
These measures have focused on containing the virus, protecting lives and livelihoods, and keeping the reforms on track. Government efforts to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic include sizable additional spending on health care and social assistance and financial support to firms. International financial support, including from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, and bilateral donors, is expected to cover the financing needs stemming from the crisis.
The relevant state agencies are currently drafting Poverty Reduction and Employment Strategies that will define further measures the Government will take until 2030 to protect the most vulnerable.
Persistent COVID-19 disruptions at the local and international levels have tempered prospects for a quick recovery in 2021. Nevertheless, Uzbekistan’s outlook remains positive as reforms continue to shift the economy toward greater resource efficiency and private sector growth.
In 2021, Uzbekistan’s economy will grow by 4.5% due to the recovery of exports and domestic demand, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a report.
“Economic growth in Uzbekistan slowed to 0.2% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, remaining positive mainly due to growth in agriculture and construction (2.8% and 7.3% year-on-year, respectively),” – notes the bank.
By Sher Karimov