Assessing the SME business environment in Azerbaijan

The OECD held in Baku the SBA Public-Private Reconciliation meeting on 16 May 2019.

On 16 May, the OECD held a meeting in the Azerbaijani capital Baku to discuss the 2020 Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) Assessment, organised in the framework of the EU-funded project ‘EU4Business: From Policies to Action’. 

The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) is an overarching framework for EU policy on SMEs. It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and remove the remaining barriers to their development. The SBA Assessment monitors the progress in the implementation of the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe and measures convergence towards EU practices and standards. 

The SBA public-private reconciliation meeting in Baku allowed the OECD to share initial findings of the SBA assessment concerning Azerbaijan and discuss the main information gaps. It also offered a platform to discuss initial policy recommendations, encouraging government representatives from line ministries and government agencies, as well as representatives from the private sector, academia and other international organisations to comment and share their views regarding future priorities for the SME development in Azerbaijan.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Anar Hajizadeh, Deputy Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Policy Department at the Ministry of Economy, Ms. Ulviya Abdullayeva  from the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan and Mr. Daniel Quadbeck, from the OECD Eurasia Division.

The first part of the meeting provided an opportunity to inform participants about the SBA assessment process and structure, including information on main data sources and a brief explanation of the underlying methodology. Representatives from the Ministry of Economy outlined the reform implemented under the SME Roadmap 2016-2020 umbrella.

The second part of the meeting provided experts from the OECD, EBRD and ETF with an opportunity to share and discuss key findings of the SBA assessment by thematic pillar. It also offered a platform to discuss initial policy recommendations, encouraging private sector participants to comment and share their views regarding the implemented policies and future priorities for SME development in the country. OECD finally presented a summary of initial policy recommendations and immediate next steps for the third SBA assessment cycle. Mr Quadbeck from the OECD encouraged the Ministry of Economy to co-ordinate the data collection and share all the relevant data with the OECD.

The meeting was attended by more than 40 participants from the government, private public sector and international organisations.

The results of the SBA assessment – SME Policy Index 2020 – will be published in the beginning of 2020.

EU4Business: From Policies to Action is a regional project implemented by the OECD, which supports competitiveness and business environment reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries, working both at country and regional level.