Enhancing Competitiveness in Central Asia

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Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have recorded impressive economic growth rates since 2000, driven mainly by the export of commodities and labour. However, the end of the commodity super-cycle and the recent economic slowdown highlighted the risks inherent in this reliance on minerals exports and remittances, as well as the challenges to be overcome to achieve more stable and inclusive growth. The Central Asian countries have long recognised the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of their economies, diversifying the production structures and improving the resilience to external shocks. This will require ambitious reforms in three areas: governance, connectivity, and business environment. This publication focuses mostly on aspects of the business environment and reflects several years of OECD work with Central Asian countries on access to finance, business internationalisation and skills development. Each of the country case studies presented here is the result of a country-specific project carried out by the OECD, hand-in-hand with the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

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Business environment in Central Asia: Access to finance

This chapter explores the demand- and supply-side issues relating to access to finance for firms in Central Asia, ranging from stringent collateral requirements to high interest rates and limited financial literacy. The OECD has helped several countries in the region to enhance access to finance for private businesses, including Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The findings from this work suggest that Central Asian governments could enhance data collection on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), further improve public financial instruments via greater involvement of the banking sector, and implement financial literacy strategies for SMEs.

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