With the project 'Ready4Trade Central Asia', the European Union (EU) and ITC are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of the region by boosting intra-regional and international trade in Central Asia. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs).
The project operates in five countries in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is funded by the EU and is implemented by ITC. Country project offices coordinate activities at the country level.
Despite some economic growth in recent years, Central Asian countries remain characterized by a low level of economic diversification and a high dependence on a small number of trading partners. The contribution of SMEs to GDP and employment in Central Asia, as well as their participation in the world economy, remains low.
Increasing access of SMEs to regional and global markets is therefore crucial for diversifying economic activity and creating jobs, and this is where Ready4Trade can help.
To reach its overarching goal, Ready4Trade will focus on 2 key areas: trade facilitation and e-commerce.
Ready4Trade started in January 2020 with a 6-month inception phase and will last until December 2023.
To help spur economic growth, the Ready4Trade Central Asia project will target these 4 main objectives:
Given the significant disruption of international trade caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of trade facilitation measures and the promotion of e-commerce activities are more critical than ever to help mitigate the negative impacts brought on by the pandemic on SMEs. Through its various activities in these areas, Ready4Trade can contribute to alleviating some of these drastic economic consequences.
In order to ensure each beneficiary country's compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, enhance the transparency and predictability of cross-border trade formalities and identify potential areas for the simplification of procedures, Ready4Trade will :
To remove obstacles on both sides of the borders for an increased intra-regional and extra-regional trade, Ready4Trade will :
To enable more SMEs to participate in regional and international value chains and generate new export flows, Ready4Trade will:
To raise awareness of border officials on gender-specific challenges and boost women entrepreneurs' confidence and their capacity to engage in international trade, Ready4Trade will:
To enable beneficiary countries to develop a strategic vision and strengthen the e-commerce competitiveness of SMEs, Ready4Trade will:
To raise SMEs' capacity to trade digitally, both intra-regionally and internationally, Ready4Trade will:
Direct impact on:
SDG 8 (Decent work and
Indirect impact on:
SDG 5 (Gender equality) &
SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals)
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