KHUJAND, April 2, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- The UNDP field office in Khujand on April 1 announced continuation of the Aid for Trade Project and launch of the second phase of the Project.

Parviz Akramov, project coordinator, UNDP Tajikistan, says the Project’s Phase II initiates a long term partnership in trade related development assistance to countries of the Western CIS, South Caucasus and Central Asia.  The second phase, designed for 2011-2014, will be implemented under financial support of the Government of Finland.  The estimated budget for the Project’s Phase II is 4.6 million euros.

“Problems existing in Tajikistan include economic and geographical isolation of the country, aggravated by poor regional integration and cooperation in Central Asia; domination of primary goods in the export basket; low industrialization level; unfavorable business environment; and problems in production and processing of farm produce,” Akramov noted.

According to UNDP, the project focuses on three sub-regions: Western CIS (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine), South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and consists of the following three components: Component I: Aid for Trade Road Map in Central Asia: Identification of national and regional Aid for Trade (AfT) priorities; Component II: Aid for Trade in Central Asia: Support to Economic Development along Trade Corridors; Component III: Aid for Trade Needs Assessments in South Caucasus and Western CIS.

The overall objective (development goal) is to foster inclusive economic growth in the region through the promotion of trade and the enhancement of each country’s competitiveness. The purpose of the project is to improve implementation of pro-poor trade reforms and trade capacity development measures through the identification of trade policy responses to the global economic crisis, trade-related needs and capacity gaps, as well as an execution of piloting technical assistance interventions.

More specifically, the project aims to: 1) articulate the (AfT) national and sub-regional priorities for countries of the region with special reference to the challenges and prospects during and after the global economic crisis (Components I and III); and 2) support economic development of the areas located along transport corridors in Central Asia. It aims to helping small and micro entrepreneurs in urban and rural areas, farmers and associations of farmers to gain from the opportunities the new transport infrastructure will bring to the regions and local communities along the transport corridors (Component II).