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IFC Partners with Tajikistan’s Government to Improve the Business Enabling Environment for Small and Medium Enterprises

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Ilya Sverdlov

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Dushanbe, November 14, 2006—The Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan, Akil Akilov, today signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Finance Corporation aimed at improving the regulatory environment for Tajikistan’s small and medium enterprises. The memorandum outlines a strategy for collaboration between the government and IFC to improve legislation that regulates SME activities, engage state agencies in developing best practices and training modules for state employees, and provide ongoing information to entrepreneurs and the general public about legislative changes that impact the business activities of SMEs.

“With the signing of this memorandum we confirm our government’s commitment to working with IFC to support the growth of Tajikistan’s small and medium enterprises,” said Prime Minister Akilov. “The government is dedicated to building an open dialogue between government and the private sector and to identifying and removing administrative and regulatory barriers that may hinder private sector development.”

This milestone is a result of a three-year effort on the part of IFC’s Small and Medium Enterprises Policy Project, financed by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco). Beginning in 2003, the project surveyed 2000 entrepreneurs throughout Tajikistan to assess the country’s business enabling environment for SMEs. This was the first survey of its kind conducted in Tajikistan.  The results, shared with government agencies and policymakers, provided the basis for developing policies aimed at improving the country’s inspection systems for SMEs. As a direct outcome of this work, the Law on Inspections of Business Entities’ Activity was signed by President Emomali Rahmonov on July 28, 2006. It is aimed at significantly decreasing the inspections of SMEs conducted by state authorities.  

The signing of the memorandum of understanding launches the next phase of the project, during which IFC will continue to strengthen collaboration with government agencies and legislators to implement the new law on inspections and improve the permits system for SMEs.  

“In the next two years, we expect to see significant improvements in the country’s business enabling environment, especially in the areas of inspections and permits, which will help entrepreneurs launch new businesses and enable existing businesses to grow,” said Andrea Dall’Olio, project manager for IFC.  

Continued improvements in private sector development in Tajikistan are a top priority for the government of Switzerland, according to Irene Leibundgut, program manager for seco.  “The signing of this memorandum, which will improve the regulatory environment for Tajikistan’s SMEs, is an important step in achieving this goal. I am very impressed by the Tajik government’s dedication to this initiative,” she said.

Present at the signing ceremony, which took place at the presidential palace in Dushanbe, were Tajikistan’s Ministers of Economy, Finance, Interior, and Health; the Deputy Director of the Antimonopoly Agency; the Deputy Minister of State Duties and Revenues; the Deputy Chair of the National Bank of Tajikistan, and the Special State Advisor on Economic Policy to Emomali Rahmonov, President of Tajikistan.  

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit

About SECO

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is the Swiss Confederation's competence center for all the core issues related to the economic policy. It aims to create the basic regulatory and economic policy conditions to enable business to flourish for the benefit of all. It also represents Switzerland in the large multilateral trade organizations and international negotiations and is involved in efforts to  improvement of living conditions and help developing countries with transition economies build sustainable democratic societies and viable market economies. Each year Switzerland spends about 1.9 billion Swiss francs on development cooperation and transition assistance to countries.