EU, UNDP and ABAD team up to support family business in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 13 December 2017 – A signing ceremony took place today in Baku to mark the inauguration of a new project aimed at providing necessary support for the development of small family businesses in the Sheki-Zaqatala Economic Zone in Azerbaijan. Implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the project will entail a close collaboration with the “ABAD” Public Legal Entity of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The new engagement seeks to enhance local capacity-building in rural areas of Azerbaijan by offering extensive support to the ABAD regional centre in Balakan and will serve as the keystone premises for fostering the formation of modern and sustainable family business models in the country.

Head of the EU Delegation Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas, UNDP Resident Representative Ghulam Isaczai and Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations Inam Karimov jointly presented the project at the ceremony.

In his opening remarks, Inam Karimov emphasised that “of all the projects implemented to promote the development of small-scale family businesses and farms as well as to contribute to regional development, the ABAD has a special place. It is a new social innovation concept that aims to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and is the result of public service reforms in Azerbaijan”.

Introducing the new cooperation framework between the three organisations, Ambassador Jankauskas noted that that “the EU is proud to be able to continue supporting ABAD and ASAN through this new grant implemented by UNDP. ASAN has become an internationally renowned model for successful public services provision making a significant positive difference for many citizens of Azerbaijan, as well as businesses. Through this new EU programme we hope to further contribute to the success of ABAD while improving the lives of 30 small holder family groups that involve a broader range of individual family businesses in Balakan”.

Acknowledging ABAD’s achievements in economic development processes, Ghulam Isaczai stated that it is “a great example of Azerbaijan’s pursuit to advance effective governance, human capital and public institutions in line with Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030.

Envisioned to enable equal opportunities and inclusivity in line with European standards and best practices, this new endeavour will last three years and conclude in 2020. The project will support and promote Azerbaijan’s efforts in developing community-based family businesses and rural entrepreneurship and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Committed to continuously helping communities, to grow organically and holistically, the partners see the newly launched initiative as a promising opportunity to stimulate and facilitate economic regeneration and job creation in the Sheki-Zagatala Economic Region.

The project is funded by the European Union, ABAD and UNDP. Collectively, the project partners have contributed a generous amount of USD 1,074,000 towards the implementation of project goals and objectives (this is an amount equivalent to AZN 1,825,800, based on 12 December 2017 exchange rates at the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan).

For questions, please contact Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan at


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ABAD (Easy Support to Family Business) established in September 2016 is a social innovation concept of ASAN that promotes and empowers small and medium-sized family enterprises in Azerbaijan in their efforts to create and/or develop agro-processing and artisanal manufacturing businesses.

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