“Wider Europe: Aid for Trade in Central Asia” Phase III

What is the Programme about?

The UNDP-implemented regional project “Wider Europe: Aid for Trade for Central Asia” (AFT) in its third phase was designed in line with Finland’s Development Policy programme and UNDP’s development vision. It promotes inclusive, green economic growth through promoting trade and enhancing national competitiveness and sustainable development, by helping poor and vulnerable communities to share in the gains from trade.

Aid for Trade (AFT) is a global initiative that strengthens developing countries’ abilities to capture gains from international trade. Much of this agenda is focused on strengthening domestic production and competitiveness, via the creation of enabling business environments and building economic infrastructure. Activities coming under AFT fall into five categories: (1) trade policy and regulation; (2) trade development; (3) economic infrastructure; (4) productive capacity; and (5) adjustment costs, of which the project is focusing on 1, 2, and 4.

UNDP’s approach uses a human centric approach to trade. By helping poor and vulnerable households and communities start, expand, and formalize small and medium-sized companies that can participate in cross-border and regional trade and global value chains, this project expands people’s capacities, as well as promoting trade and reducing poverty. By helping trade policy makers to take advantage of the development opportunities presented by preferential trading arrangements, and to better understand the socio-economic and environmental consequences of trade policies. This project strengthens the institutional capacities needed for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The project is working on three: on macro-, meso- and micro levels. On the macro level the project seeks to work with the host government to better implement and adjust international trade agreements on national and local level. On the meso level the focus is on the strengthening of the national business environment for the advantage of human development through trade activities. The micro level element of the project seeks to give direct support to agribusinesses and other SMEs, based on sustainable use of natural resources.


Project Components:

Sub-Output T.1. Trade related policy documents at the national and local level developed and better adjusted to international trade agreements.

Sub-Output T.2. Capacity of National Trade Promotion Institutions and trade stakeholders in international trading and promoting sound business environment is strengthened.

Sub-Output T.3.1. Economic activities within agricultural value chains are based on sustainable use of natural resources.

Sub-Output T.3.2. Use of information technology leading to improved business links and innovative economic activities.

Project Focus areas:

On the macro level, the project seeks to work with the host government to better implement laws and adjust them to international trade agreements on national and local levels by the following means:

• Supporting national key stakeholders through capacity building to remove barriers to trade;

• Supporting inter-ministerial Working Groups in adjusting national trade policy documents to correlate with international trade agreements;

• Supporting regional and district level working and expert groups in their efforts to implement local trade development policies;

• Support to the host Government in promoting and encouraging public debate on ​​trade policy documents, as well as facilitating coordination of activities among local, national and regional stakeholders and development agencies on trade related issues;

At the meso level, the focus is on strengthening the national business environment in order to achieve human development through commercial activities:

• Supporting the establishment of trade promotion centers at national and oblast levels

• Supporting the establishment of the Trade and Export Capacity Building Programme, under which needs based trainings for entrepreneurs are undertaken

• Capacity development support to Business Associations in order to increase their organizational expertise and activities, as well as lobbying capacity on improving business environment

• Support SMEs in participating in local and international trade fairs / exhibitions and relevant business forums in order to promote their products abroad

At the micro level, direct support is offered to agribusinesses and other SMEs, based on the principles of sustainable use of natural resources:

• Expansion of the "Business Challenge Fund" to the Khatlon region and Districts of Republican Subordination (DRS), based its previous success in Sughd;

• Through the Business Challenge Fund supporting innovative business ideas that implement cross-cutting development themes such as gender equality, and environmental sustainability in their activities;

• Expansion of Agricultural Information Marketing System (AIMS) to cover the whole country, and linking AIMS and Tajik producers with the Central Asian information, marketing, and trade platforms;

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