CCIAF in partnership with SMBDA held the opening session of the online conference “Post-COVID-19: Recovering SMEs”

CCIAF in partnership with SMBDA  held the opening session of the online conference “Post-COVID-19: Recovering SMEs”

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The online conference on “Post-COVID-19: Recovering SMEs” organized by the CCIAF in partnership with the SMBDA kicked off on June 30. The Conference was attended by Zacharie Gross, French Ambassador to Azerbaijan; Rahman Mustafayev Azerbaijani Ambassador to France; Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of EU Delegation to Azerbaijan; Mehman Abbas, Deputy chair of the SMBDA; Ivana Duarte, Head of EBRD Azerbaijan; Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative for Azerbaijan; Géraldine Lemble, Deputy CEO of the MEDEF International.

The online conference “Post-COVID-19: Recovering SMEs” will last until July 2. In the coming days, CCIAF member consulting companies – Baker Tilly Azerbaijan, Deloitte, Ekvita, EY Azerbaijan, and PwC Azerbaijan will organize seminars for SMEs on tourism, agriculture, and women entrepreneurship.

The Conference started with the opening remark of Zibar Huseynova, Managing Director of the CCIAF. She stressed the importance of SMEs in the economy and the role of the Chamber in supporting the SMEs during the post- COVID-19 period. Teyba Guliyeva, Chair of the CCIAF Management Board briefed the participants on the organization’s cooperation with SMBDA and the work done in the framework of this cooperation.

Mehman Abbas, Deputy Chair of the SMBDA, spoke about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on small and medium enterprises, the support program implemented by the Azerbaijan government, as well as the measures taken by the Agency for SMEs. He also talked about SMBDA’s cooperation with international organizations and projects implemented within this cooperation.

French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zacharie Gross informed the participants about the French government’s action plan for the rehabilitation of SMEs and spoke about intergovernmental cooperation in this area. Azerbaijani Ambassador to France Rahman Mustafayev talked about the importance of SMEs for national economic development and highlighted the importance of further strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the current situation.

Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, briefed the participants about the programs and projects to be implemented in the field of SME during the pandemic and post-pandemic, as well as cooperation with SMBDA in this field. He gave detailed information about the “EU for Business” initiative and the priority areas of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan. Ivana Duarte, Head of EBRD Azerbaijan, spoke about the Bank’s financial support programs for SMEs, as well as online training such as digitalization and pandemic budget management. UNDP Resident Representative in Azerbaijan Alessandro Fracassetti stressed the importance of self-recovery of the SME sector, one of the areas affected by the pandemic, noting that the organization has been working closely with the Azerbaijani government during this period. He spoke about the project to create an e-business platform and the organization’s online training on online business development.

Geraldine Lemble, Deputy CEO of MEDEF International, noted that a large number of SMEs are represented in the organization, support for their self-recovery after the pandemic is one of the organization’s priorities, and MEDEF International closely cooperates with the organizations working with SMEs in Azerbaijan.

The conference was followed by the Q&A session, the panelists answered questions from the online conference participants.

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