Uzbekistan's achievements in poverty reduction and its innovative "bottom-up" approach presented in Oxford

Uzbekistan's achievements in poverty reduction and its innovative

On May 29th, Obid Khakimov, Director of the Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR), delivered a presentation at the Queen Elizabeth House, a multidisciplinary research center at the University of Oxford, on Uzbekistan's achievements in poverty reduction. The event was organized with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London.

Professor Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), moderated the event, with Dr. Adeel Malik, Globe Fellow in the Economies of Muslim Societies and Associate Professor at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, participating in the discussion.

Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United Kingdom, Ravshan Usmanov, welcomed the participants and noted the progressive development of Uzbek-British relations, emphasizing the importance of further strengthening bilateral cooperation in all areas, including science, education, and research.

During the presentation, the CERR Director outlined initiatives aimed at improving the living standards of the population. Key among these are expanding access to quality education, developing infrastructure in rural areas, supporting entrepreneurship, and creating new jobs.

These measures are aimed at comprehensively addressing poverty, including economic, social, and infrastructural aspects. Their implementation has had a significant positive impact on reducing poverty levels in Uzbekistan.

According to the data presented, by the end of 2020, about 6 million people in Uzbekistan lived below the poverty line. Assessing the results of transformation programs aimed at addressing poverty, it was noted that since the beginning of 2021, the poverty level in Uzbekistan has decreased from 17% to 11%. This has allowed about 2 million people to be lifted out of poverty.

Therefore, the efforts of the Uzbek government to reduce poverty are already yielding tangible results. However, as the expert noted, it will take time to assess the effectiveness of the initiatives. It is important to monitor the specific results and dynamics of poverty reduction in the country in the long term.

The CERR Director cited the launch of the "Makhallabay" system as one of the effective policy decisions, under which microloans were provided for nearly 1 million family business projects from 2022 to 2024.

International experts noted that overall, the initiatives presented by Uzbekistan appear comprehensive and aimed at addressing key issues related to poverty.

Moving to the next stage of reforms, the CERR Director noted that Uzbekistan has officially adopted the concept of multidimensional poverty as one of the tools to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The concept of multidimensional poverty implies that poverty is characterized not only by low income but also by insufficient access to education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other basic services.

The seminar presented fundamental developments and practical experience in poverty reduction, including the results of the Multidimensional Poverty Index calculated by CERR.

Following the event, participants noted a high level of interest in the research presented. The methodological approaches and recommendations proposed by CERR, based on a comprehensive analysis of extensive empirical data, received particular attention.

Prof. Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, shared her impressions of the event:

"The results of the seminar conducted by Dr. Obid Khakimov are highly appreciated and deserve close attention from the scientific and expert community. The opening of the seminar was marked by recognition of the commitment of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to poverty reduction, which has indeed facilitated the implementation of a very ambitious yet practical transformation program.

It was noted that during the implementation of the initiative, more than 9,000 employees with all the necessary skills were involved at the makhalla level. These motivated specialists were deployed to rural areas across the country, allowing them to effectively participate in the poverty reduction process. Additionally, women, youth, and social workers were involved in the implementation of this initiative, which added a high degree of coordination and purposefulness.

Overall, the presented comprehensive program, combining thorough staffing and a systemic approach, demonstrates the commitment of the Uzbek leadership to an accelerated and sustainable solution to the problem of poverty in the country," said Prof. Alkire.

The presentation detailed the financial aspects of poverty reduction programs implemented in Uzbekistan and outlined how these funds were invested in this area.

"The presented issues of results assessment determined the success of the ongoing transformations. In this context, both monetary and multidimensional measurements of poverty applied in Uzbekistan were considered, including the Multidimensional Poverty Index, on the development of which OPHI had the honor to work together with CERR," emphasized Prof. Alkire.

Speaking about the large-scale research conducted by CERR to develop the Multidimensional Poverty Index in Uzbekistan, information was collected from more than 1,000 households, followed by a pilot survey in 4,500 households. A national survey of 16,000 households is now planned for a comprehensive measurement of poverty across nine dimensions in the country.

According to the expert, the results obtained indicate the prevalence of poverty in rural areas and also reveal significant gender disparities within households.

Prof. Alkire supported Dr. Khakimov's proposed approach regarding the need to invest in women's empowerment and support entrepreneurs, especially at the makhalla level. Such an approach, combining meeting the needs of both genders with targeted investments in women and youth, will enable sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

According to the expert, who has studied the experience of many countries in fighting poverty, the approach implemented in Uzbekistan looks very promising, "due to the presence of political commitment, as well as the application of a "bottom-up" strategy involving both citizens and highly qualified specialists. Additionally, the management approach is aimed at careful measurement of targets and assessment of progress in poverty reduction."

Concluding her speech, the Director of OPHI expressed her joy at the opportunity for OPHI to collaborate with CERR in the field of poverty reduction and expressed gratitude for the proposal to hold a high-level meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) in Tashkent in August of this year, bringing together 63 countries and more than 20 international organizations working in this field. According to her, this will be the first face-to-face meeting of participants after the pandemic.

CERR Public Relations Sector

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