COVID-19: Weekly Digest on Impact on SMEs in EAP ( September 4, 2020)


  • Armenia’s government approved a Strategy for the development of small and medium business and an action plan for 2020-2024 to address the pandemic. According to the strategy, productivity of SMEs will increase by 3% in 2020-2023 and by 7.5% in 2024. Read more
  • The Fund for Armenian Relief and HSBC Bank Armenia will provide 14.5 million AMD ($30,100) to promote entrepreneurship in Tavush region aimed at improving financial literacy among 140 farmers and young people in 4 rural communities. Read more
  • The first Armenian B2B marketplace is launched for Armenian manufacturers to help overcome the pandemic. A multi-language portal has 13 main categories with many subcategories in which almost all sectors of the Armenian economy with export potential are represented. Read more


  • Azerbaijani banks reduced their portfolio of business loans by 4.5% in January-July 2020, compared to the end of the previous year. This figure is estimated to be around 8.6 billion AZN ($5 billion) or almost 61% of the total loan portfolio of banks. Read more
  • Nearly 93% of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs suffered under the coronavirus pandemic, according to survey held by Center of Social Studies. 4% of entrepreneurs stated that pandemic did not affect their business, 3% said that the effect was favorable. Worst-affected areas are tourism, catering services and education sector. Read more
  • Nearly 51.84 million AZN ($30.5 million) was paid in Azerbaijan to 22,885 taxpayers within the framework of renewed financial support package. The money was allocated to partially cover salaries of 234,355 employees. Also, within the framework of the second financial support package, a one-time payment in the amount of 12.5 million AZN ($7.3 million) was provided to 49,887 microentrepreneurs. Next payments are expected after September 10. Read more


  • For the first half of 2020, the share of non-cash transactions amounted to 60% of all payments, and the total amount increased by almost 34% compared to the same period last year. Read more
  • At the beginning of the pandemic, demand for office space for IT companies fell by around 20%, and now this market may lose its clients. 12 Belarusian IT companies are in the process of full relocation, 59 partial relocation, 112 started looking for relocation opportunities. Read more


  • To tackle the economic challenges caused by COVID-19, changes made to the state programme “Produce in Georgia” will increase the agency’s support and its co-financing capacity. The assistance will now be available in six new economic activities, including creation of computer games, hospital activities, general and specialized medical practice activities, dental practice activities, purchase and leasing of film production equipment. Read more
  • ‘Remotely from Georgia', a new state programme that allows foreign citizens to travel to and work remotely from Georgia, has started. Georgia encourages freelancers, full-time employees or business owners from 95 countries to apply for the programme if they intend to stay in the country for at least 180 days. A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter Georgia long-term will find all the necessary info for obtaining confirmation for border crossing as well as further requirements at Read more
  • In order to minimize the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the construction sector and promote the stability of the real estate market, the Georgian government has announced a 100 million GEL ($32.46 million) tender to ensure the completion of unfinished construction projects. Read more
  • National Tourism Administration launches the Hotel Promotion Programme 2020. The new project will help increase sales for small and medium-sized hotels with a maximum of 20 rooms free. The programme registrars, photographers, designers, members of the technical team will visit the hotels and assist the facility to better attract the tourists and improve online presence and sales. Read more

The Republic of Moldova

  • In June-July, Moldovan banks managed to fully recover from the fall since the beginning of the pandemic, and the loan portfolio is now 113 million MDL ($6.8 million) higher. Farmers, the most important bank clients in this period of recovery, increased their loan portfolio by 223 million MDL ($13.5 million). Read more
  • The Government has decided to extend the deadline to apply for subsidy for resident enterprises and non-profit organizations, which have established temporary unemployment due to epidemiological situation, until 30 September. Read more


  • The Business Activity Expectations Index, calculated by the National Bank of Ukraine, increased by 1 point in August – up to 47.9. However, it remains below the neutral value of 50 points and signals the prevalence of pessimistic business expectations due to the prolongation of the adaptive quarantine. Read more
  • The State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine asks the Cabinet of Ministers to revise the framework of the ban on entry for foreigners until the end of September. According to Agency, a complete ban for foreigners from entering Ukraine could negatively affect the tourism industry, which has already suffered from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and has just begun to recover. Read more
  • The state Ukreximbank has changed its tariffication in favor of SMEs. The bank’s Head Evgeniy Metzger said that they have changed to become an open space bank – with an open entrance and exit. Read more
  • The State Labor Service will strengthen control over the official employment in SMEs. The current legislation provides for criminal, administrative and financial liability for violation of labor law with fines in the amount of UAH 8,500 - 141,600 (EUR 257 - 4,290). Read more

EU4Business Updates

  • How an EU project turned a Ukrainian town into a dream place for its citizens
    For the second year in a row, a pilot project under the European Union's M4EG programme, Mayors for Economic Growth, is being implemented there as part of the EU initiative EU4Business. In just two years the project “Youth-Driven Organic Business Cluster in Baranivka UTC” has provided more than 1,100 school children and 400 adults with opportunities to gain practical professional skills thorough a number of means, including 30 master classes. Read more
  • From Ancient Armenia to South Africa: Mastering the Secrets of Dried Fruit Production
    While on a study tour to the South African Republic under the EU4Business Initiative, Armenian growers gained expert advice on manufacturing internationally and specifically EU-competitive products: maintaining accurate moisture levels, extending the shelf life of dried fruits, producing attractive yet affordable packaging in line with the European standards, and getting some good marketing tips on how to promote their products. Read more
  • European Union’s EU4Business Initiative and UNIDO Help Armenia’s Fashion Industry Overcome COVID-19 Challenges
    In the course of a six-day seminar organised under the EU4Business Initiative, Armenian textile companies gained deeper insights into price segmentation and the effective use of communication and promotion channels, as well as roadmaps for overcoming the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more