Representative of Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland visited Kyrgyzstan for joint business, tourism and export development

May 22, 2022

22 May 2022, Cholpon-Ata - The United Nations Development Programme demonstrated results of Aid for Trade project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to members of the monitoring mission by the Ministry.

The Finish monitoring mission is headed by Ms. Marja Liivala, Director General of the Department of Russian, East European and Central Asian Affairs, and Ms. Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist, Ambassador of Finland to the Kyrgyz Republic. The purpose of the field-visit to Issyk-Kul oblast aimed to demonstrate results of the improved value chains on adventure tourism and dried fruits achieved by UNDP. During the monitoring mission, members of the Finnish delegation met with beneficiaries – MSMEs in rural areas – who have received support within the Aid for Trade project.

The Government of Finland has been a long-standing partner of the UN Development Program in Kyrgyzstan. Through the Aid for Trade project, they have extended their support not only to Kyrgyz businesses but also the Kyrgyz Government and trade support institutions, For example, with Finnish support, UNDP helped the government develop and adopt the 2017-2019 Export Oriented Enterprise Financing Program, which facilitated exporters' access to financing and provided them with more than $18,000,000. In addition, a significantly expanded portfolio of services has been supported, that now includes annual export information campaigns, support for participation at international trade shows, and assistance with B2B meetings and trade missions.

"One of the main objectives of the Aid for Trade project, that is funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, is to develop a trade-friendly regulatory environment and build the capacity of national partners to develop and promote Kyrgyz exports. This visit will significantly contribute to the development of economic and business relations between Finland and the Kyrgyz Republic, which will have a positive impact on the sustainable development of the country," said Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic.

"Our delegation has been impressed by the progress in the projects. After the pandemic it is important to get back on track with our cooperation in the Kyrgyz Republic. The current international situation obviously presents challenges, especially with logistics, but we also see many new opportunities in tourism, business development and trade promotion," said Marja Liivala, Director General of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department.

The monitoring mission was a part of a broader diplomatic agenda. The delegation also participated in a roundtable discussion with development partners, a business forum with representatives of the business sector, and conducted political consultations with the representatives of the Kyrgyz Government.

The Kyrgyz Republic established diplomatic relations with Finland in 1992. At present, relations in the field of trade are also maintained. According to the Finnish side, the market in the Kyrgyz Republic is the most liberal and open in the Central Asian region with a simplified tax system and easier procedures for doing business internationally.

Information regarding Aid for Trade project.

With the view to helping Kyrgyz MSMEs, particularly from rural areas, participate in global trade, the project has identified three green value chains that have significant export potential: tourism, honey, and dried fruits and nuts. The support is provided to all actors in the value chain – producers/farmers, processors, and exporters. It entails intensive capacity building, provision of grants, establishment of mechnisms that facilitate access to  production equipment, participation in international trade fairs/exhibitions and business matching activities.

Recognizing the important role of women in driving the country’s economic development, one of the aims of project is to assist in the creation and/or expansion of women-led businesses or businesses that would generate decent jobs for women from the regions of Kyrgyzstan. Throughout the course of the project, we have been supporting various initiatives related to women empowerment, including the Women's Entrepreneurship Day, mentoring programs for women in business, as well as an initiative on affordable finance for women entrepreneurs. Through these programs, more than 10 000 women have been empowered.