COVID-19: Weekly Digest on Impact on SMEs in EAP (8 May)


  • From May 4, 2020 vast majority of businesses including cafes and restaurants are allowed to resume their work exclusively in the open-air areas. There could be a return to the strict regime in case of aggravation of the situation. Read More
  • Some 24,000 business entities have been already assisted by the Government of Armenia. Over 62 billion AMD (about US$ 128 million) had been provided as emergency assistance to business and individuals. Read More
  • An expert assessment of key economic indicators and the state support programmes conducted by the Armenian Center for Socio-Economic Studies provides consensus predictions of GDP change: -3.9% . Read More
  • The unemployment rate in Armenia will grow by 1.3% after the pandemic becoming 19%. “We will have additional 40,000 unemployed in the country”, says Arman Udumyan, the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs. Read More


  • The Board of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan decided to maintain the discount rate at the level of 7.25%. The upper limit of the percentage corridor was decreased from 9% to 8%, the lower limit was kept at 6.75%. Read More
  • During the first quarter of 2020, Azerbaijani banks increased their business loan portfolio by 3.7% to 9.366 billion AZN ($5.52 billion), or 61.5% of the total loan portfolio, according to data, provided by Central Bank. Consumer lending during that period decreased by 1.9% to 3,998 billion AZN ($2.36 billion), with a total share of 26.2%. Read More
  • Solid government program has been developed in Azerbaijan for credit support of areas affected by coronavirus, Central Bank (CBA) chairman Elman Rustamov said. He noted that CBA, according to this program, will allow banks to restructure some problematic loans until September 30. The banks were given recommendations on extending the loan repayment terms. Such loans will not be considered problematic by CBA, and fines and sanctions will not be applied to them. Read More
  • The government decided to ease several restrictions from May 4. A number of business entities and facilities, including barbershops and beauty salons, resumed their activity in Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Lankaran cities and Absheron district. In other regions restrictions were lifted almost completely. Read More


  • The government says that economy cannot “afford” quarantine. The mayor of Minsk mentioned that in the case of quarantine 465 thousand people would have lost their jobs within the first six months of 2020. Read More
  • In the first quarter, annual inflation amounted to 4.9% (the forecast for 2020 was no more than 5%). The National Bank explained this by the increased demand for some products due to coronavirus. At the same time, there was an outflow of deposits in Belarusian rubles and consumer credit increased by 18.7% against January-March 2019. It is likely due to the fact that people tried to get rid of depreciating ruble savings, whereas many banks temporarily froze the disbursement of housing loans. Read More
  • 45% of Belarusians surveyed reported a decrease in income compared to March. This was primarily due to the dollar exchange rate (36%), a third had fewer customers, and a quarter had their salaries reduced. The increase in average wages in March can be explained by the dismissal of newcomers and the lowest paid workers, but further steady decrease is forecasted
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  • Prices for imported building materials rose by about a third due to the ruble’s devaluation, but it did not affect the demand. In March, the demand for building materials of many sellers soared by 30-40% (people were preparing for self-isolation), and in April it fell by 10-25%, but sellers call their position quite stable compared to the others. Read More


  • The estimated real GDP growth rate in March 2020 equaled -2.7% YoY. A decrease was registered in accommodation and food service activities, transportation and storage, wholesale and retail trade; financial and insurance activities, real estate activities and many more, National Statistics Office of Georgia says. Read More
  • The number of newly registered enterprises in Georgia decreased by 47% YoY. Growth of VAT payers’ turnover used in rapid estimates of economic growth is only 0.7% YoY, National Statistics Office of Georgia says. Read More
  • Only 30% of 840,000 people employed in the informal sector or the self-employed will receive a one-time assistance of 300 GEL (about $94.19) from the government, due to the limited budget of 75 million GEL (about $23.55m) for the initiative. Read More
  • HoReCa and hospitality sectors develop anti-crisis plan for tourism and apply to the government to suspend income and property taxes, as well as pension contributions for tourism companies for 12 months and the utilities for small facilities involved in tourism to equal to the tariffs for individuals. Read More
  • Boutique Holidays in Georgia is a new project that will be launched in Georgia in the coming days to support domestic tourism. The initiative will assist people in the regions to transform their houses into guest houses and register their availability on a unified platform where users will have a possibility to book leisure travel options online. Read More

The Republic of Moldova

  • More than 7,000 people registered as unemployed in April. Compared to the same period last year, their number has increased 32 times. According to the National Employment Agency, nearly 400 cases are submitted every day. Among those requesting the unemployment benefit, amounting to 2,775 MDL ($155), are Moldovans who have returned from abroad and lost their jobs, due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus. Read More
  • Enterprises that are in the state of technical downtime or downtime due to the epidemic may apply for participation in the Subsidy Program. Companies that were forced to suspend their activities completely or partially, will receive 100% of income tax and other payments accrued and paid on salaries in the form of subsidies. If the activity during the state of emergency in the country was suspended for other reasons, the subsidy will be 60% of the amount of income tax and other mandatory payments. Read More
  • According to the decision of the Commission for Emergency Situations, from Monday, 4 May, retail sales of all types of goods and products are allowed, except for retail outlets located in shopping centers, markets (including car markets). In all cases, compliance with the established sanitary and epidemiological standards to reduce the risks of the spread of COVID-19 will be mandatory. Read More
  • In the context of the pandemic crisis, several companies in the automotive sector have decided to go a step further and reshape their activity, from the production of car covers to the manufacture of personal protective equipment for the medical system, e.g. masks, coveralls and face shields. Read More


  • The number of registered unemployed on Monday was 48% higher than the same time last year, reports the State Employment Center. The number of officially jobless is now 456,800. At the same time, the number of vacancies has dropped to 53,000, 60% below last year. With informally employed people unable to register as unemployed, the real number is believed to be far higher. To help the unemployed, the government has started a low interest rate loan program for small companies, has decided to allow Ukrainians to go to the EU to work, and has raised unemployment assistance, to a little over $1 a day. Read More
  • GDP will drop by 5% in the 2nd quarter of 2020 due to quarantine and global demand squeeze. However, fast rebound to the previous indicators till the end of the 2020 is expected, according to the National Bank’s report. Read More
  • The government prolonged quarantine till 22 May with some easing as of 11 May. Hair studios and beauty salons, cafes for takeout services, as well as non-food stores, car-wash services, will start working – provided quarantine measures are strictly met. Read More
  • The quarantine has ‘liquidated’ 40% of Ukraine’s 30,000 restaurants and cafes – not in the sense of ‘closed for quarantine,’ but in the sense of ‘liquidated as enterprises’, according to the Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy. Read More


EU4Business supports entrepreneurs from eastern Ukraine

The EU provided UAH 123.5 million (the equivalent of approximately €40 million) for entrepreneurs from Donbas, eastern Ukraine, under the EU4Business FinancEast programme. Read More


Webinar "Digital Transformation of SMEs in EaP: Focus on Armenia and Lessons for All" on 21 May

EBRD Advice for Small Businesses Armenia team invites you to join the webinar on Digital Transformation of SMEs on 21 May. Read More

Free online trainings on “Business Development through Digitalisation” conducted in Armenia

Online trainings were provided by the EBRD under the EU4Business initiative to cope with COVID19 challenges.
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Georgian firms shift production to meet pandemic challenge

Nearly 40,000 protective face shields produced by a Georgian company will be provided to frontline healthcare staff, local civil servants and other at-risk personnel. Read More

Georgian hazelnut and dried fruit producers discuss market conditions during and after COVID-19 pandemic

On 16 April, 12 Georgian companies specialising in dried fruit and hazelnut production attended the EU-supported online workshop ‘EU export marketing customer communication and preparing for the recovery from COVID-19’. Read More


EU helps women in rural Azerbaijan support their communities during pandemic

Women in remote areas of Azerbaijan have been using EU-funded sewing equipment to make protective masks for their communities during the pandemic. Read More