The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lent US$573mn to a group of four projects in Uzbekistan.

The deals were inked during a three-day visit by ADB president Takehiko Nakao, who also outlined plans to lend US$2.6bn to the country’s infrastructure plans by 2019.

The ADB will lend US$100mn from its small business unit to fund SMEs run in rural areas and by women in Uzbekistan. A water supply development project in Tashkent, the capital, will receive US$121mn.

A horticultural development project designed to establish intensive orchards, modern and efficient greenhouses, and processing and storage facilities nationwide, will receive US$154mn, while the remaining US$198mn will be used to finance the Kashkadarya regional road project, which will upgrade 77km of the Uzbek road network.

The future financial support will focus on Uzbekistan’s plans to upgrade its infrastructure in the areas of power, transport, urban water supply and sanitation, housing, and will also boost SME lending through financing local banks.

The ADB is in the process of implementing its trade finance programme in Uzbekistan, through which it can facilitate credit for Uzbek businesses through loans and guarantees. This, in turn, is designed to stimulate trade.