Intra-regional and local economic development in Central Asia

Project description

Title: Promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Lead executing agency: Economic ministries, Chambers of Industry and Commerce
Overall term: 2008 to 2013

Central Asia. Trainees talking with one other during a dialogue event Image: © GIZ


The Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan play an important role as a bridge between Europe and Asia. They are striving to turn their region into an important trade corridor once again. The conditions are favourable: with annual growth rates of around ten per cent, Central Asia is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world. Intensifying regional cooperation is an important step towards accessing global markets, and the expansion of intraregional trade plays a crucial role in this. By effectively leveraging the potential that exists here, the Central Asian states can make an important contribution to the further development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


National economic development structures and thus also the local and (intra-)regional economic development are strengthened by training project participants. International quality standards and marketing strategies are introduced through the targeted training of junior managers who are involved in decision-making processes as employees of chambers of industry and commerce as well as business associations in the export and logistics sector. In the medium term, the income and employment situation of disadvantaged sections of the population will be improved.


The programme supports regional dialogue between the participating partner organisations by holding regular business forums that bring together representatives of national business associations and private companies from the countries of Central Asia to discuss cooperation. This encourages initiatives for cross-border networking.

As part of the International Leadership Training (ILT) courses on Transnational Trade and Sustainability Management, technical experts and managers from Central Asia receive training in their area of technical expertise during a one-year stay in Germany. They develop transfer projects that they implement within their organisations after returning to their home countries.

Additional training and dialogue initiatives in the partner countries help set the stage for the returning technical specialists and managers. These initiatives deal with the two main programme areas of transport and logistics and economic and trade promotion. Follow-up workshops are held in the Central Asian countries, and have included a competition to identify the best transfer projects, for example. The winning projects receive further support in the form of suitable training and equipment.

Results achieved so far

Since 2008, the programme has enhanced the technical and managerial skills of around 620 employees of partner organisations through training and dialogue. The participants in the various initiatives share the expertise they have gained in export strategies, quality standards, SME promotion and HR development in their companies and organisations, apply new methods and processes and thus help bring about change in their home countries.

Between 2009 and 2012 a number of workshops were held at national level in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Concepts were also developed for eLearning formats and training materials under the scope of the programme. For example, a training manual and a bilingual (English-Russian) CD-ROM ‘Basic Knowledge Logistics Central Asia’ was created for participants working in the logistics sector. This CD-ROM is used as an eLearning tool for internal company training and teaches participants about international logistics management standards.

32 junior managers from Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz companies and institutions who participated in the one-year International Leadership-Training (ILT) programme in Germany have for the most part already completed the transfer projects they developed in Germany, in consultation with their local employers. A competition was held for the three best transfer projects which then received further support. The topics were: establishing a logistics training centre in Tashkent, planning and setting up cold storage in a logistics centre, cooperation between artisans and tour operators in Pamir. The other transfer projects will be carried out in 2013/2014. Many ILT participants established contact with German companies and organisations during their internships in Germany.