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Trade and business in Central Asia

Central Asia has significant development and business potential based on availability of energy, natural resources and work force. However, the countries face major challenges linked to the heritage of a centrally planned system, legal and institutional reforms and a relatively limited regional integration. The development of SMEs is recognized to be vital if the benefits of economic growth are to be extended to a wider proportion of population. Therefore the EU supports a reduction in poverty by building on trade and businesses capacities in Central Asia.

Most Central Asian SMEs have fragmented knowledge of business administration, in particular of strategic marketing, appropriate marketing-mixes, access to information and capital. In conjunction with the sometimes low-level vocational education, these SMEs face difficulties to produce competitive quality.

In this context, Business Intermediary Organisations can play a key role in the reform process towards a market economy, contributing to civil society development and to the creation of new employment opportunities and income. By improving their capacity to assist small businesses and to create bridges between the governments and the private sector, they will contribute to the eradication of poverty and to the gradual democratic and economic transition of these countries.

What is Central Asia Invest?

NEW !   

A stakeholders event was held in Bishkek on 28-29 April 2009. The agenda pdf - 27 KB [27 KB] and the presentations zip - 6 MB [6 MB] that were made at the event are now available. A factfile pdf - 4 MB [4 MB] presenting the projects that have been selected has also been published.

The Central Asia Invest is a regional programme which aims to promote the sustainable economic development of Central Asian Countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) by encouraging the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The programme will also support the relationships between European and Central Asian Business Intermediary Organisations, with a view to the integration of the Central Asian markets in the world economy. 

What kind of projects?

The programme supports capacity building projects for Business Intermediary Organisations in Central Asia.

The activities must aim to upgrade the skills of staff members and to reinforce networking, making them better equipped to service the local businesses and to facilitate trade between Europe and Asia.

The call 2007-2008 is closed since 15 February 2008. The list of the selected projects pdf - 8 KB [8 KB] is published now. Please find below factheets describing the 12 selected projects:

* KAZAKHSTAN - Economic Development based on Organic Agriculture pdf - 3 MB [3 MB]

* KAZAKHSTAN - Start up for Export pdf - 238 KB [238 KB]

* KYRGYZSTAN - Promotion of Kyrgyzstan Economy pdf - 3 MB [3 MB]

* KYRGYZSTAN - Tourism for Kyrgyzstan pdf - 256 KB [256 KB]

* TAJIKISTAN - Enabling Business Development for Small and Medium Enterprises pdf - 3 MB [3 MB]

* TAJIKISTAN - Strengthening Tourism Business Intermediary Organisations for Sustainable Economic Development pdf - 78 KB [78 KB]

* TAJIKISTAN - Raising the Professionalism and Public Outreach of Tajik Business Intermediary Organisations pdf - 96 KB [96 KB]

* TAJIKISTAN - Support to Food-Processing Small and Medium Enterprises pdf - 3 MB [3 MB]

* UZBEKISTAN - Promoting the Role of Women Entrepreneurs in Local Economic Development pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

* UZBEKISTAN - Central Asia Business Organisations Trainings pdf - 632 KB [632 KB]

* KYRGYSTAN & UZBEKISTAN - Capacity Building and Sustainable Development of Forwarders Associations pdf - 131 KB [131 KB]

* KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, UZBEKISTAN - Strengthening the Capacity of Business Intermediaries in the Healthcare Sector pdf - 119 KB [119 KB]

Who can apply?

Non-profit making organisations can apply such as chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade, industrial and professional associations, regulatory bodies and agencies promoting trade, investment and commercial activities as well as sector-based agencies concerned with working with SMEs. Government agencies are considered eligible as long as they are not the main applicant.

Applications should be from partnerships with a minimum of two partners, at least one from the EU and one from Central Asia:

  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Turkey, FYRoM ;
  • Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan ;
  • Partners from Mongolia, Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan can participate as associates (i.e. not receive direct funding

When and how to apply?

The call 2007-2008 is closed since 15 February 2008 and the list of approved projects pdf - 8 KB [8 KB] is now available. You can find details on the eligibility of applicants and on application procedures in the Guidelines for Grant Applicants pdf - 148 KB [148 KB] .The application forms and all related attachments are available on the Funding section of this web site (under the reference 126265).

Concerning the events organized in correspondence with the launch of the first call for proposals, a number of of info sessions were held in Belgium and in Central Asia as well as a training session for short-listed applicants in Brussels, with the aim to improve the quality and the sustainability of future proposals.

You can find more information consulting our Frequently asked Questions pdf - 162 KB [162 KB] and do not hesitate to contact the Central Asia Invest mailbox.

Where can I get further information?


For any further questions concerning the programme, please send an email to Central Asia Invest mailbox .



Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top