By Leman Mammadova
Economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UAE has been intensified in recent years. In particular, the two countries’ joint efforts to develop small and medium businesses are remarkable.
UAE’s Omni World Holdings Limited will invest $10 million in implementation of small and medium business development projects in Azerbaijan.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Development Agency, and Eric Alfred Schaer, head of Omni World Holdings Limited, on June 13 in Baku.
According to the document, the UAE company will initially invest $10 million in potential projects in the fields of tourism, agriculture, information technology, health and other sectors of the economy.
Mammadov pointed to the favorable business and investment environment created in Azerbaijan and stressed that attracting foreign investors is of great importance in terms of diversifying the economy, including the development of SMEs.
Schaer also noted that a favorable investment environment has been created in Azerbaijan, with special importance being attached to the development of SMEs.
He said Omni World Holdings Limited is interested in implementing projects in SMEs in Azerbaijan, and is ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan SMEs Development Agency in this direction.
It’s noteworthy that the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the UAE amounted to $54 million in 2018. The UAE exported goods worth $32 million to Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijani exports to the UAE reached $22 million.
Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in the development of Azerbaijan’s economy. Development of SMEs leads to the growth of entrepreneurship, which is one of the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s economic policy.
The share of SMEs in employment in Azerbaijan was 76 percent last year, and in recent years, comprehensive work has been carried out for the development of SMEs. In particular, inspections of business entities have been suspended and the process of obtaining licenses has been simplified.
The share of SMEs in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade is planned to increase to 40 percent after 2025.
SMEs Development Agency aims to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and application of effective coordination, enhancement of the role and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in the country's economy, and compliance of the management system of this sphere with modern requirements.
As a single structure with special powers, the Agency organizes, coordinates, evaluates and regulates the services provided by government agencies and organizations in this area through SME houses.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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