20 December, 2021 marked the launch of the new joint project of the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction (MEDPR) of the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNDP in Uzbekistan “Empowering the Youth to Embrace the Digital Economy and Digital Entrepreneurship”. The signing ceremony took place at the premises of MEDPR with participation of the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Mr. Ilkhom Norkulov, UNDP Resident Representative Matilda Dimovska as well as Mr. Valentin Gusev, Counsellor at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Uzbekistan.
The project aims at enhancing the digital entrepreneurship environment and digital skills of young entrepreneurs; strengthening institutional capacities for developing digital economy and digital entrepreneurship policies with a focus on youth engagement; reducing barriers and creating better opportunities for access to finance for youth’s digital business projects and start-ups.
Mr. Ilkhom Norkulov highlighted the ongoing Government’s efforts in realizing the opportunities presented by the digital technologies in creating new jobs, expanding to new markets, driving innovation and developing new economic sectors. Therefore, “the national youth employment strategies have incorporated measures aimed at creating opportunities for the youth to embrace the potential of the digital era and addressing existing and emerging challenges” he said.
New cooperation between UNDP and national partners will aim to support further development of the digital economy in Uzbekistan, development of measures, by empowering young people, especially women, with digital entrepreneurship skills, tools and enhancing enabling environment. This will serve the overall purpose of increasing employment opportunities, competitiveness and resilience to COVID-19 and similar crises, and thus, reducing inequality, ensuring inclusive, innovative and sustainable economic growth, and job creation.
UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Matilda Dimovska highlighted the importance of the event and expressed the readiness to further support Government’s efforts in promoting decent work and income-generating opportunities for young people. “Digital technologies have great potential for achieving the political, economic and social empowerment of young women and men. The specific objectives of the project are to increase youth’s access to and participation in the digital world and to boost relevant education and employment opportunities. The project aims to promote digital skills ranging, for example, from the ability to find and assess important content online to advanced user know-how like online marketing and trading.”, she said.
The project is a logical continuation of current programmatic interventions of UNDP to support the Government’s efforts towards digital and green transformation, improving the active labour market policies, as well as enhancing the entrepreneurship skills of the youth. It is funded by the Russian Federation, co-financing includes in-kind contributions from the MEDPR and parallel funding from IT Park with the total project budget – USD 2,100,000.