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OECD Eurasia Webinars - Supporting Recovery and Enhancing Resilience: “Supporting Private-Sector Recovery in Central Asia”

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Due to the quarantine measures introduced by countries due to the spread of COVID-19, the opportunities for face-to-face meetings have been effectively replaced by online communication. Within the framework of the project “Expansion of Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek local smallholder organic agriculture and forest-based food products to EU Markets”, working meetings are held online. On June 10th, the ELSOFP Central Asia project took part in a regional webinar: “Promoting the Restoration of the Private Sector in Central Asian Countries”.

The online discussion organized by the OECD was very timely and useful, because during the webinar there was an opportunity to hear the reports of ministers, deputy ministers and senior representatives of government agencies of seven Central Asian countries (including Afghanistan and Mongolia), responsible for the development and implementation of anti-crisis measures; representatives of the private sector; international experts; representatives of the European Union and a number of international organizations.

As the Central Asian countries closed their borders with neighboring states and introduced restrictions on internal movement to stop the spread of the virus, the value chains were temporarily suspended.

Central Asian countries (with the exception of Kazakhstan) export goods to a very narrow number of markets. As a result of the concentration of economic activity, they are highly susceptible to external crisis, since the effects of declining demand for major exported goods are amplified by a narrow circle of trading partners and a lack of alternative vast number of niche markets.

“Measures that inhibit the spread of COVID-19 will lead to a significant increase in trade costs,” reflected EU Special Representative for Central Asia Ambassador Peter Burian in his message, “Falling trade incomes will create problems for countries with high levels of external debts. A protracted economic crisis could exacerbate socioeconomic inequality”.

In order to support the governments of Central Asian countries, the OECD conducted an analysis of the potential impact of COVID-19 on countries in the region, examining their strengths and weaknesses. This webinar made it possible to discuss the initial results of the work carried out by the OECD in the difficult conditions of the current crisis.

An important step is that the responsible political leadership of the Central Asian countries had the opportunity to exchange useful experiences (from taxation and monetary policy to employment and education) and plan a more coordinated regional course for economic recovery.

In the Central Asia countries, (taking into account the experience of European countries), they have developed their anti-crisis measures to stimulate business activity, mainly related to tax and lending benefits for the small and medium-sized business sector.

More details can be found in the full material in Russian (link) and English (link). All presentations and webinar recordings can be obtained by clicking on the link - in English: bit.ly/35lXfQR and in Russian: bit.ly/2XRChYd

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