EBRD, EU support development of small businesses in Central Asia



Uzbekistani seamstresses inspect fabric in this undated photo. [Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan]

LONDON -- The London-based European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union on Tuesday (January 30) launched a new Regional Small Business Programme (RSBP) to help Central Asian countries finance small- and medium-sized private enterprises.

The EBRD will manage the programme, providing financial institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with new digital business tools for small business development, the EBRD said in a statement.

The German consulting firm IPC (Internationale Projekt Consult GmbH) will implement the programme, which is designed to transfer know-how in micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) finance.

The RSBP is aimed at establishing a knowledge-sharing platform accessible to partners in MSME finance in Central Asia. The EBRD hopes to help local financial intermediaries gain access to the bank's relevant experience.

The programme envisages regular training for the staff of partner banks from Central Asia.

"Training programmes for MSME finance have been hugely popular with financial institutions in Central Asia," Agris Preimanis, head of the EBRD in Kazakhstan, said. "The RSBP will not only employ modern technologies but will also target wider audiences in multiple locations across Central Asia, making it a better and more efficient programme for MSME financiers."

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