, which supports the sustainable social and economic development of the Asian and Pacific region's poorer countries. This will orient ADB's program in the country more strongly toward poverty reduction initiatives.
Three loans totaling $95 million are planned for 2005 for land improvement in farming areas, rehabilitation of regional railways, and improvement of rural water supply and sanitation services in the rural areas of Kashkadarya and Navoi.
In 2006, four loans totaling $105 million are programmed to develop market infrastructure for private farms, enhance basic education through science and information and communications technology, promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, and boost the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
A $2.3 million technical assistance (TA) program will support the lending program mainly through project preparation over the period 2005-2006.
In terms of poverty reduction, the Government's recently completed Living Standards Strategy (LSS), prepared with ADB assistance, marks an important milestone. The LSS affirms the Government's commitment to poverty reduction and outlines the main strategic policies to be implemented to improve living standards in Uzbekistan up to 2010.
Gross domestic product growth picked up from 4.2% in 2002 to 4.4% in 2003, driven by the agriculture and trade sectors. The LSS targets to double annual growth rates to 8.0-8.5% by 2010.
"To achieve such high levels of growth, and to realize widespread and visible improvements in living standards will depend on continued progress in reforms," says Sean O'Sullivan, ADB's Country Director in Uzbekistan.
"ADB is committed to supporting the Government's efforts, and our assistance will be tailored to the pace and direction of reforms set by the authorities. Importantly, ADB will help in mitigating the social costs of Uzbekistan's transition to a market economy"
The LSS will be further developed into an interim poverty reduction strategy, which will involve the specification of a program of activities to achieve the Government's poverty reduction goals, which can provide the basis for future development assistance. A full CSP for Uzbekistan is therefore planned for next year.
Since joining ADB in 1996, Uzbekistan has received 19 loans amounting to $859.7illion. ADB has also granted $28.9million worth of TAs for 55 projects.
CSPs define ADB's medium-term development strategy as agreed with the country. A CSP update is prepared every year taking into account the continued relevance of the CSP, its implementation, and ADB's operational program.
ADB is dedicated to