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EBRD and Kazakhstan to work together for small businesses

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the government of Kazakhstan are working together to extend business advisory services in the country to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow and become more productive. The development of small businesses is a shared goal for both the EBRD and the Kazakh government.

Representatives of the EBRD and the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan (MINT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in which the two sides agreed to support the Business Advisory Services (BAS) that the EBRD will provide in Kazakhstan.

The Memorandum sets out goals for BAS operations over the next three years.

According to the Memorandum, the Kazakh government will support EBRD's Business Advisory Services programme in the country, which has been active since 2001. This programme will in turn help MINT to reach the goals of the Kazakh state programme for enterprise development "Productivity-2020". 

Over three years the EBRD will aim to provide consultancy services to about 450 small and medium businesses in Kazakhstan and to develop the local market for business advisory services.  Financial support will come mainly from the Government of Kazakhstan, with additional funding to be sought from other donors.

"The Kazakhstan Government’s decision to fund the EBRD's business advisory services programme themselves underlines the shared goals of EBRD and Kazakhstan to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. This mutual effort will ensure that SMEs in Kazakhstan are able to innovate and become more competitive", said Olivier Descamps, the EBRD’s Managing Director for Turkey, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

Asset Issekeshev, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, added at the signing ceremony: “For the successful implementation of the Productivity 2020 programme, we need BAS expertise to support SMEs and develop consulting markets".

The EBRD’s BAS programme allows SMEs to access a diverse range of consulting services by facilitating projects with local consultants on a cost-sharing basis. Direct assistance to enhance enterprise performance is combined with systemic market development activities to create sustainable and commercially viable support infrastructures for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Bank’s countries of operations. BAS started its operations in Kazakhstan in 2001 and has provided support to over 700 local SMEs, with donor funding from Japan, Switzerland and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

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