Ready4Trade conducts gender-responsive trade facilitation workshops for border officials in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
Ready4Trade knows the potential that gender-responsive trade can hold for the world. For one, more opportunities for women-led enterprises in a country to access international markets empowers just not women but the whole national economy. Over the course of the project, consultations with government agencies, business associations and private sector representatives in Central Asia showed that there is a strong demand for gender-responsive activities and greater awareness, particularly in cross-border trade.
During September and October, Ready4Trade held a series of awareness-raising gender workshops for customs officials in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The workshops aimed to inform border officials about the difficulties that women face in cross-border trade and provide instruction on how develop fair and ethical practices to increase women's participation in trade and create favorable conditions at the border.
In each of the three countries, the workshops were designed to first teach local customs experts about gender-responsive trading at borders. The customs experts then went on to share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues in various customs administrations and other relevant trade agencies.
In Kazakhstan, the workshops were designed in close cooperation with the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Training and Methodological Center (TMC) and were held in Nur-Sultan, Altynkol, and Nurly Zhol with more than 50 local officials from state agencies in attendance.
Yermek Ktanov, Chief specialist of HR Management and Organizational Work Department of TMC, noted that the “seminar touches upon a relevant for Kazakhstan topic. In the long term, these kinds of initiatives will help to increase the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the labor market.”
For Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the workshops had an equally great turnout, with approximately 80 customs and border officials in attendance in Kyrgyzstan and More than 130 participants in Uzbekistan.
In Kyrgyzstan, the workshops were held in Bishkek, Naryn Batken, and Osh.
Elnura Mambetjunusheva, Deputy Head of the State Customs Service of the Kyrgyz Republic recognizes that "entrepreneurs, especially businesswomen, usually face challenges when crossing the borders. We are happy that our border officials have this great opportunity to study gender-responsive trade facilitation trainings”.
In Uzbekistan, the workshop sessions took place in Bukhara, Tashkent, and the surrounding Tashkent region. Sobir Avezov, First Deputy of the Bukhara Oblast Department of the State Customs Committee, in his opening speech expressed gratitude to the experts and organizers in attendance, noting that special attention is being paid to ensuring women's rights in the Republic of Uzbekistan and their role in the development and management of state and society.
M. Sadigova, Chairman of the Regional Department of the Bukhara of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan "Tadbirkor Ayol", echoed these sentiments, stating that “Uzbekistan was among 27 states in 2020, which carried out significant reforms on women's rights and gender equality.” Sadigova went on to say that “important measures are being taken in the direction of wide involvement of women in entrepreneurship; reforms which are being implemented in the field have a positive impact on the position of our country in international ratings, in particular, in the World Bank's the Women, Business and the Law Index.”
The Ready4Trade Central Asia project aims to support the development of intra-regional and international trade in five Central Asian countries. This will be done by enhancing the transparency of cross-border requirements, removing regulatory and procedural barriers, strengthening business capability to comply with trade formalities and standards, as well as by improving cross-border e-commerce. The 4-year EU-funded Project is a trade component of a larger EU-funded programme which aims to support Investment, Competitiveness and Trade in Central Asia, thus contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic development in the region. The Ready4Trade-Central Asia project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).