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Speech by Ambassador Traian Hristea at the opening of the EU-Central Asia Invest Networking Event

01/11/2017 - 09:49
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Speech by Ambassador Traian Hristea at the opening of the EU-Central Asia Invest Networking Event in Almaty on October 26, 2017.

First Deputy Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Distinguished colleagues,

It is a pleasure for me to be here today and to open the Central Asia Invest Networking meeting. Before I start, please let me thank the Government of Kazakhstan for hosting us, and the OECD for supporting the organisation of today’s event.

For ten years now, the Central Asia Invest Programme’s objective has been to boost small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) growth and competitiveness. SMEs are vital to create jobs and sustain growth.

I am glad to see the level of interest from the Governments of  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, who will accompany me in opening today’s event.

I am also pleased to see the impressive attendance of Business Intermediary Organisations. Around 30 BIOs - of which more than 20 come from 5 Central Asian countries - are attending today. The private sector will be speaking today, this is a fact.

Last and not least, all EU delegations to Central Asia countries are represented, as well as our colleagues from the headquarters

In a nutshell, the whole Central Asia Invest community is here today. The two levels on which the Central Asia Invest Programme works:

  • First, the level of Central Asia Business Intermediary Organisations to improve their services to small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • The second level focuses on policies to improve the business climate for SMEs.

With such level of participation, today’s event is a unique opportunities for us.

It’s an opportunity to exchange knowledge and share experiences to strengthening the role played by BIOs in Central Asia. It will also offers participants a chance to explore common solutions to the challenges that BIOs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) face in the region. To be more specific, today’s event has three objectives:

  • Improving horizontal co-ordination across Central Asian BIOs and projects: in the morning panels, participants will share project achievements, challenges and solutions. Projects will be clustered by good project management practices and tools, based on inputs collected through exchanges and a survey to participants.
  • Improving vertical co-ordination between the policy and the grant levels of the CAI programme:
    • Central BIOs project work should be turned into policy messages and should also be able to convey key messages to the Government at the highest level.
    • The afternoon break-out groups will offer Central Asian BIOs an opportunity to prepare these key messages, that will be further conveyed by the OECD and the EU to high-level Central Asian Government officials.
    • The three topics that were selected are still important barriers for Central Asian SMEs: taxation and business regulation, access to finance and technology,  trade facilitation and logistics.
  • Improving the impact of the CAI Programme going forward: how can we together enhance the efficiency, visibility, and the impact of the CAI Programme? That is a question we will ask ourselves this afternoon and I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

First Deputy Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Distinguished colleagues,

Going forward, the EU will continue supporting private sector development and SMEs in Central Asia through the CAI Programme.

To make this Programme more relevant, we need you and your ideas. Before I finish, let me thank the OECD for supporting the organisation of this event.

The OECD has been our longstanding partner for 8 years now and we will continue partnering to improve the business climate in the region.

Thank you very much for your attention. 

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