The Uzbek government has to make difficult decisions concerning the types of reforms to be implemented over the next few years, the pace of reforms, and the sequencing of the many components of reform programs. The Uzbek leadership wants to avoid the economic and political instability that often accompanies profound and rapid changes of systems. Before making final domestic policy and implementation decisions, it may wish to acquire first-hand knowledge of (i) how the policy and institutional innovations envisaged by Uzbekistan actually function in countries with a long experience of market mechanisms, and (ii) how other countries facing problems similar to those of Uzbekistan have analyzed the political, economic, fiscal and social implications of alternative program proposals, selected the most appropriate alternative, and mobilized support for the reforms.


Kiev, from Ukrainian postcard series

          For decision-makers, the best analysis and the most comprehensive reports by international or national experts will never be as informative and convincing as direct observation, in the field, of the practical results of reforms, combined with extensive discussions with the senior officials who designed and implemented the reforms.


          The choice of countries to be visited would be made by the government, in consultation with the office and other donors associated with the program. It would be based on the following criteria:

  • relevance of the experience of the countries for the analysis of specific issues viewed by the government as of particular importance for the country’s economic and social development;
  • interest of the “host countries” in receiving Uzbek officials, and readiness of their government to provide the necessary support and to organize extensive visits and discussions with the counterparts of the Uzbek officials, other relevant public institutions, academicians who have carried out comprehensive reviews of similar problems, private enterprises and non-government organizations;
  • lack of funds from other sources to finance the proposed visits. In other words, if other donors with a strong cooperation program with Uzbekistan are willing to organize and finance visits to North America, Western Europe and Japan, the program would finance mainly trips to other countries, for example newly industrialized Asian countries. Visits could also be organized to Eastern Europe and other CIS countries, if and when some of these countries succeed in their current effort to reactivate economic growth and develop an appropriate social safety net in the framework of market mechanisms.


          Most of the visits will be issues-oriented. The choice of issues will be wide; possibilities include any relevant economic policy and public sector management issue of primary concern to the Uzbek government. For instance:

  • a group of senior officials from the Ministry of Labor and specialized academicians may wish to discuss with their foreign counterparts how unemployment compensation schemes are organized and funded, what kind of placement and training mechanisms could provide new job opportunities for the unemployed, which special arrangements (early retirement, voluntary departures, special compensation schemes, support for self-employment) should be envisaged when the restructuring of a public sector enterprise or institution necessitates major staff compressions;
  • the Finance Minister, the Chairman of the Central Bank and/or some of their associates may wish to discuss issues related to the eventual creation of a national currency, the relative merits of alternative foreign exchange regimes, the economic, fiscal, social and political implications of the reform, and the supporting measures necessary to ensure its success;
  • the Privatization Committee - together with managers of state enterprises - may wish to observe the preparation, implementation and actual results of ongoing privatization schemes;
  • a team of government officials may wish to review the organization of effective systems of management of the civil service (status of the civil servant, staff selection and recruitment, career development, incentive policies and practices, pensions, etc).

          Focusing on critical policy issues, the visits may lead to the preparation of strictly confidential reports to the Uzbek leadership. Whenever feasible, however, more formal reports would be drafted by Uzbek officials during or immediately after the mission to inform their colleagues of what they have been able to observe, the result of their discussions, and their views on the relevance of the experience of the country visited for the Uzbek economy. These reports could also be used for the preparation of case studies to be used in economic management courses supported by the program.

          The UNDP and/or other donors contributing to the program (their representatives in Tashkent or in the foreign countries to be visited) would be primarily responsible for preparing and organizing the visits. Relevant information and working documents would be collected in advance for the Uzbek mission. In some cases, the program would finance the preparation of a report to guide Uzbek officials in their future discussions and investigations.


          This is an area in which the mission needs guidance from the government. Ideally, an existing unit within a central government agency should be responsible for pre-selecting the issues to be addressed during the visits, the countries to be visited, and the officials or groups of officials who would participate in the visits. Alternatively, this component of the program could be administered by the University of World Economy and Diplomacy and its Institute of Management. The unit designated to handle the program would encourage a variety of public sector economic management agencies to propose issues and candidates; the final selection would be made by a special task force appointed by the government or the Steering Committee, in consultation with the donors funding the program.


          Assuming that the average cost of air travel would be $3000 for each trip and the subsistence cost would amount to $1500, the total cost of each trip would be $5000, including preparation costs. With a tentative allocation of $150,000, the program could finance up to 30 trips.

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