Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan expand SME cooperation

7 May 2019 17:02 (UTC+04:00)

By Leman Mammadova

Azerbaijan’s Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Kazakhstan’s Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and adopted a road map.

The memorandum was signed by the head of the Agency Orkhan Mammadov and Chairperson of the Damu Board of Directors Gaukhar Buribayeva on the sidelines of the “Ulttyk Onim 2019" National Goods Exhibition in Nur-Sultan.

During the meeting, the sides exchanged information on the development of SMEs in two countries and activities of their organizations, discussed issues on development prospects, exchange of experience and organization of visits.

Representatives of the Agency for the Development of SMEs held meetings with representatives of a number of public and private structures of Kazakhstan within the framework of the exhibition.

During the meeting of Orkhan Mammadov with Ayan Erenov, Chairman of the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan, the sides exchanged views on the expansion of relations between SMEs in both countries, organization of bilateral export missions and creation of mechanisms to assist business associations.

At the meeting with Ruslan Isakov, Chairman of the Board of KazakhExport OJSC, the organization of bilateral business missions was discussed.

Azerbaijan is Kazakhstan's key trade-economic partner in the Caucasus region. Located on the route of the Great Silk Road, both countries aim at the further expansion of trade and transport relations.

Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan reached $258.26 million in 2018. Exports from Kazakhstan accounted for $211.9 million of the bilateral trade, while imports from Azerbaijan made $46.3 million.

Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in 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.

The Agency for the Development of SMEs aims to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and the application of effective coordination, enhancement of the role and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in the country's economy, and the 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.

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Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888

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