Thu, 28 Jan 2021

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan will implement a 183.6-million-U.S. dollar project to develop rural infrastructure with the assistance of the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Uzbek Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction said Wednesday.

It will be implemented from 2020 to 2024 in Jizzakh, Syrdarya, Ferghana, Namangan, and Andijan to cover 21 districts and more than 300 villages in these five regions, the ministry said. (Uzbekistan-Rural Development-International donor)

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MANILA -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said it has approved a 20-million-U.S. dollar loan to help the government of the Cook Islands manage the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in the Cook Islands as of November 24, according to the World Health Organization. But its economy is being decimated by the complete lack of tourism -- the main driver of its small economy. (ADB-Cook Islands-Help)

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BEIJING -- China will step up efforts to expand the free trade area network across the world to enlarge its "circle of friends", according to China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

After signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China will see the China-Cambodia free trade agreement take effect at the earliest and accelerate investment agreement negotiations with Europe, Zhong said in a signed article published Tuesday in the People's Daily. (China-RCEP-Opening up)

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MINSK -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country will promote the linking of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the integration process of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The Belt and Road Initiative is a project that gives concrete results, Lukashenko said on Tuesday when accepting the credentials from China's new ambassador to Belarus Xie Xiaoyong. (Belarus-China-Ambassador)

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ROME -- The small- and medium-sized companies that make up the bulk of the Italian economy are also taking the brunt of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysts.

Italy's small- and medium-sized companies -- defined as entities with fewer than 250 employees, less than 50 million euros (59 million U.S. dollars) in revenue, and a total annual balance sheet worth less than 43 million euros -- represent a bigger share of Italy's economy than they do in the European Union (EU) as a whole. Known as SMEs, the companies provide a little over 78 percent of the jobs in Italy, compared to less than 67 percent in the EU, according to data from the European Commission. (Italy-Coronavirus-SMEs)

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COLOMBO -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved 165 million U.S. dollars in loan to Sri Lanka for it to provide financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement from the ADB office in Colombo said Tuesday.

The loan will also be used to provide long-term financing to underserved SMEs, including businesses led by women and tea smallholders, the statement said. (Sri Lanka-ADB-Loan)

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