• 19%

    Percentage of Women in Uzbekistan Parliament (2011)

  • 15.1%

    Inflation Rate (GDP deflator)

  • 75

    Percentage of Low Income Populations Living in Rural Areas

  • 60.3%

    Percentage of Population Under 30 Years of Age

About Uzbekistan

Introduction

Smiling Uzbek Children
UNDP in Uzbekistan


The Republic of Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, after being part of the former Soviet Union since 1924, and it has begun its transition to a market economy under the guidance of President Islam Karimov. Uzbekistan is a presidential republic, and conducts presidential and parliamentary elections on a regular basis.

Uzbekistan is a resource-rich, doubly-landlocked country, strategically located in the heart of Central Asia. Its population of about 30 million (as recorded in the beginning of 2013), half of whom live in urban areas, accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Central Asia‘s total. In 2011 the World Bank re-classified Uzbekistan from a low-income to a lower middle-income nation.

Since the early 90s, Uzbekistan has pursued a cautious and gradual approach to economic reforms. The national trade regime is rigid, with extensive tariff and non-tariff barriers in place. Main economic policies have included active state interventions designed to achieve self-sufficiency in food and energy resources, import substitution, and the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves.

The disappearance of the Aral Sea, an environmental disaster, has resulted in negative economic, environmental and human impacts in the north-western regions of the country.

Challenges


 

About 16 per cent of people in Uzbekistan live below the poverty line, 75 per cent of whom live in rural areas. One of the most difficult challenges the country is facing is a lack of employment opportunities, with a high disparity between rural and urban areas. High unemployment and low wages have resulted in a mass labour migration to Russia and Kazakhstan, while remittances have accounted for about 12 to 15 per cent of the nation’s GDP from 2010 to 2012.

Governance remains an area where further reforms are needed to improve participatory decision-making, transparency, and the openness of government bodies. Other pressing issues include the need to improve public awareness of and adherence to human rights principles, ensure access to justice for vulnerable groups, and promote gender equality.

Uzbekistan faces a number of environmental challenges compounded by the country’s geography and climate, by its rapidly-increasing population, and by its economic activities including those that have damaged the nation’s fragile ecosystems. Access to drinking water is a pressing issue, while the Aral Sea disaster has had a negative impact on regional economics, the environment, and the health and livelihoods of local populations.

Progress

Community members discuss plans for development
UNDP in Uzbekistan

 

In the last decade, Uzbekistan has achieved significant progress in reducing low income rates and tackling malnutrition. Official statistics indicate that the national poverty rate has decreased from 28 per cent in 2001 to 16 per cent in 2011. Social cohesion has been maintained through more equitable income distribution, the creation of employment opportunities with a specific focus on rural areas, and attention given to vulnerable populations.  

Gender equality in primary and secondary education has been maintained, and the percentage of female students in higher education establishments increased from 25 per cent in 1998 to 36.1 per cent in 2011. The number of women in the Parliament of Uzbekistan has increased from 6 per cent in 1994 to 19 per cent in 2011.

Uzbekistan’s maternal mortality rate has gradually decreased from 33.1 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 23.1 in 2011. This achievement has been the result of a reduced fertility rate, fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortion cases, and longer time periods between pregnancies. Rates of iron, folic acid, iodine and vitamin A deficiencies have been identified and addressed by the Government, and work is underway with international partners to develop effective health care programs.

Uzbekistan is committed to halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria by 2015. The HIV epidemic in Uzbekistan is still in its early stage, with a relatively low rate of infection. Uzbekistan has made significant progress in containing and reversing the spread of TB. In 2011, the incidence of TB cases in Uzbekistan comprised 53.1 of every 100,000 residents, which was 30 per cent less than the level registered in 2005.

The Government has also recognised the need to improve environmental management, and to develop and adopt a number of strategies on environmental protection, natural resource use, biodiversity, agriculture, renewable energy and the prevention of desertification.

Country flag
Country map
Statistics
Capital:
Tashkent
Population (2013):
29,993,500
Area (in sq. km):
447,400
Area (in sq. mi):
172,741
Language(s):
Uzbek, Russian
Poverty Rate (2011):
16%
GDP Per Capita, PPP (2011):
$3,287
Human Development Index (2012):
0.654

Sources: 2011, World Bank's 'World Development Indicators' 2011, Asian Development Bank 'Country Partnership Strategy' UNDP Human Development Index