The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is channelling its efforts to empower women-owned and managed businesses in Uzbekistan by providing a loan of up to €5.5 million to Uzbek Leasing International (Uzbek Leasing).

This financial support is part of the EBRD’s Central Asian Women in Business programme, which aims to foster women’s entrepreneurship and business activity by facilitating access to finance, know-how, and technical advice. The loan is also backed by grant funding from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative.

The government of Uzbekistan, intending to increase the percentage of small and medium-sized businesses owned and run by women from 25% to 40% by 2030, views this initiative as pivotal for its gender equality strategy. The funding from EBRD is expected to create new growth opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the country.

The leasing aspect of the support provided by Uzbek Leasing is particularly significant, as it aligns with the broader mission of the EBRD to bolster private entrepreneurship. This initiative comes at a crucial time, as Uzbekistan continues to lead in EBRD funding in Central Asia, with a focus on empowering women entrepreneurs and advancing gender equality in business.

According to its corporate website, the company was founded in 1995 with shareholders including the National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Uzbekistan and Maybank from Malaysia.

Since 2001, under the management of Maybank, the company has expanded its leasing services, attracting funding from global institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation.

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Uzbek Leasing International JSC has successfully implemented over 2300 leasing projects in various sectors across the country, demonstrating consistent growth and expansion. The company’s recent achievements include the establishment of regional representative offices in different provinces of Uzbekistan since 2005.