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Aid for Trade Project in Central Asia
AfT III
Project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Executing agency United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Programme context
Trade can play a fundamental role in improv-
ing human development. Growing exports
mean new opportunities for enterprises to
expand production and to create more and
better jobs. Exports can also finance the
import of goods and services that are not
produced domestically. Trade-led growth
only promotes human development when it
benefits and empowers the less fortunate,
and when it does not place unsustainable
burdens on fragile ecosystems.
Such outcomes require efforts to align trade
policies with the logic of sustainable devel-
opment. UNDP in Europe and Central Asia
has been working toward this end with
the Finnish Wider Europe Initiative since
2009. The first and second phase of the
regional Aid for Trade project worked in
nine countries of the Europe and Central
Asian region. All interventions were closely
aligned to Finland’s Aid for Trade Action
Plan. Phase II implemented activities in
four Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan),
two countries in the Caucasus (Armenia and
Georgia) and three countries in Western CIS
(Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine). The pro-
ject during phase II had over 33,166 direct
clients, of whom 38% were female. 12,708
people were trained, 44% of whom were
female. Businesses in Tajikistan that par-
ticipated in trainings sponsored by the
project increased their incomes by 10%, and
in Kyrgyzstan by 12%. 1,674 new jobs were
created (56% of whom were women); over
72,000 people used market information sys-
tems established under the project.
The third phase of the project features the
scaling-up project activities implemented
under phase II, while at the same time nar-
rowing the geographic focus to Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan and to a certain extend to
Uzbekistan.
PROGRAMME PERIOD: 2014–2017
TARGET COUNTRIES: Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan
BUDGET: 9 000 000 Euro
FINANCING: Ministry for
Foreign Affairs
of Finland
EXECUTING AGENCY: United Nations
Development
Programme
(UNDP)
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Benefciaries
and stakeholders
As in the previous project phases, project
activities under Phase III reflect the prin-
ciples of human rights-based approaches,
national ownership, gender sensitivity, and
environmental sustainability. Phase III
supports national trade and development
policies and programmes that prioritize
employment and poverty reduction. The key
link is the project’s emphasis on increas-
ing employment and wages, via measures
to raise productivity in (mainly agro-pro-
cessing) small and medium enterprises (and
cooperatives), by improving export market
access and reducing trading costs.
The project will work at the macro, meso
and micro level. On the macro level it will
support governments as well as civil soci-
ety to reflect on and implement trade and
private sector related policies that are
human development centric. On the meso
level, the project will support business
institutions to develop better services to
serve their clients, and on the micro level
the project will directly support entre-
preneurs to expand their businesses and
create employment.
The project also works at the regional
level, supporting dialogue between the
Central Asian countries to enhance trust
as well as supporting mutually beneficial
commerce.
Objectives
The project supports inclusive growth
in Central Asia through promoting trade
and raising competitiveness, to support
national efforts to reduce poverty and
improve peoples’ lives. These objectives are
achieved through the implementation of
three complementary project components:
1: Trade policies that promote human
development, particularly in terms of
making best use of regional and global
trade agreements. The overall goal is to
increase opportunities for better trade
and better access to export-oriented
value chains, to increase income- and
employment-generation opportunities
for poor and vulnerable households;
2: Support to SME-oriented business/
trade –support organisations to deliver
effective services to businesses,
ensuring that businesses have the
support they need to grow;
3: Direct support to entrepreneurs and
small businesses to improve their
processing and export capacities. The
project will support entrepreneurs
through the introduction of new
technologies, as well as new production
methods.
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Empowered lives.
Resilient nations.
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