COVID-19: Weekly Digest on Impact on SMEs in EAP (August 28, 2020)


  • US Government has allocated an additional $1.4 million through USAID for combating Covid-19 impacts in Armenia. Overall it is providing more than $4 million of emergency assistance, including $1 million for supporting the agriculture and tourism sectors in recovering economically from the pandemic, and adapting their needs to the post-Covid world. Read more
  • The total amount of losses in Armenia’s tourism industry, according to the Armenian Tourism Federation, is about $500 million – over 460,000 tourists did not visit the country in the first half of 2020. However, domestic tourism in Armenia is gradually becoming more active. Read more


  • Allocation of loans worth more than 27 million AZN ($15.9 million) are already approved through the Digital Credit Platform created by the Ministry of Economy. All in all, the Platform received more than 2,200 requests for loans worth 660 million AZN ($388 million). The platform was created to provide businesses with loans on favorable terms and therefore help entrepreneurs to recover from crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The government will partially guarantee loans and subsidize interest rates. Read more
  • On August 19, more that 22,600 Azerbaijani entrepreneurs received 50.38 million AZN ($30 million) to partially cover salaries of more than 228,000 workers. The money is allocated within the second phase of government support package. More than 107,000 microentrepreneurs received 76 million AZN ($45 million). Read more


  • The head of the European Commission announced the allocation of EUR 53 million for Belarus to fight the coronavirus, but this money will be reallocated. EUR 50 million will go to anti-coronavirus efforts, EUR 2 million – to support the repressed, EUR 1 million – to civil society and the media. Read more
  • The Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade conducted unscheduled inspections: for some enterprises, the wholesale margin on medical masks turned out to be 15%, which exceeds the allowed maximum of 11%. Read more


  • As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Georgia's exports dropped by 16.8%. According to the Geostat report, exports of 6 out of the 10 largest export goods of the country have decreased. The sharpest decline was observed in automobile exports (-42.2%) and exports of pharmaceutical products (57.7%). Read more
  • Unemployment rate increased by 0.9% compared to the same period last year and equaled 12.3 %, shows the recent data from the National Statistics Office. The share of contracted employees is 48.6% of the total number of employees. 4 % are self-employed. Read more
  • The Georgian government is launching a new programme “State – Your Partner” to encourage more citizens to start businesses and more villagers to engage in agricultural activities. The programme will allow individuals to receive state services and information in 81 community centers and 24 justice houses in more than 100 settlements throughout Georgia about programmes to help start or assist new business. Read more

The Republic of Moldova

  • In the first half of 2020, travel agencies and tour operators provided touristic services to 37,500 tourists, which is 75.3% less than the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The data show that the number of foreign tourists who visited Moldova through travel agencies decreased by 20%, the number of Moldovan tourists traveling abroad decreased by 84%. Read more
  • The Covid-19 pandemic affected the activity of the wine business in the Republic of Moldova and forced it to focus on retail and online stores. Although domestic sales were not so severely affected, exports fell sharply, ranging from 50 to 80%. However, Moldovan winemakers have proven to be resilient in terms of force majeure. Many of them have implemented business strategies, which have allowed them to stay afloat. Read more
  • For several months, over 300 SMEs have learnt to use digital solutions, marketing tools, sales, and online promotion, to make their business visible in the digital environment and to continue their activity during pandemic. To this end, TEKWILL Project in partnership with ODIMM launches “Startup Academy”, which will provide SMEs with the necessary knowledge. Read more
  • More and more entrepreneurs are digitizing their businesses with the support of programmes launched by the Government and development partners. Through the GoOnline platform, 61 small businesses were digitized, and benefited from the development of visual identity, integrated web pages with online payments and delivery solutions, etc. Another 25 digital service providers have teamed up to help small businesses stay online. Read more


  • The Government plans extending the adaptive quarantine till November 1 due to the second wave of COVID in Ukraine. The President emphasized the importance of providing all possible opportunities for SMEs to run their business during the prolonged quarantine. Read more
  • As of August 20, there were 488,000 unemployed in Ukraine, which is 77% higher y-o-y. 411,000 people receive state unemployment aid. During the quarantine period (from March 12 till August 20) 431,800 unemployed registered in the State Unemployment Centers, which is 67% higher than during the same period in 2019. Although there has been a slowdown in the new registrations: in April – 149,000 registrations, in May – 97,000, in June – 75,000, and in July – 68,000. Read more
  • 94% of Ukrainian start-ups do not plan to shut down at this point of the quarantine, 60% have decreased their costs, 40% are still searching for investors, according to the Ukrainian Startup Fund. The most affected start-up industries are tourism, offline communications, events, transport. The least affected are those working on development of tools for co-working, online education, videoconferencing, delivery services etc. Read more
  • Within the state programme “Affordable loans 5-7-9%”, banks issued 246 loans to SMEs valued at UAH 650 million (EUR 20 million) during the past week. This resulted in a total of 2,444 loans valued at UAH 5.5 billion (EUR 169.8 million) since the start of the programme in March. During the past week, banks refinanced UAH 535.6 million (EUR 16.5 million). Read more

EU4Business Updates

  • The new support center helps Belarusians start their agribusiness despite Covid-19
    The agribusiness support center in Brest region, Belarus, supported by EU and UNDP, helps locals with starting and growing their business – not only by teaching them the basics of farming, but also providing seeds and plants, and helping with exporting their products. Read more
  • Science of beekeeping, mastered by a woman from Sipka village
    Natalia Porhun is the owner of the beekeeper business in Moldova, who received support from EU and UNDP with the purchase of mobile equipment for honey extraction. It replaces at least three persons’ work and comes with growth of productivity. With its help, they can collect to 800 kilograms of honey per day. Read more