Caspian Policy Center Holds Discussion on Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment in Tajikistan
Experts discussed how the government and business communities can remove barriers inhibiting women’s access to entering the market in the post-pandemic world.
Washington, D.C. — TODAY, the Caspian Policy Center (CPC) hosted a panel of experts to discuss the strategies that could be employed to incentivize women’s participation in Tajikistan’s economic development.
The webinar was hosted in conjunction with the release of “Strategies for Inclusive Economic Growth: Women’s Entrepreneurship in Tajikistan” policy brief and focused on numerous societal and economic barriers exist that limit women’s ability to seek employment and grow their businesses.
Efgan Nifti, Chief Executive Officer of CPC, opened the event with welcome remarks that were focused on the importance of policies and strategies that promote inclusive economic growth for women in the Caspian region and beyond.
“Supporting women’s entrepreneurship is a sustainable pathway for increasing living standards and generating equitable economic growth for the entire Caspian region. While today’s event will focus on Tajikistan, many of the lessons are applicable across the region and beyond,” said Mr. Nifti.
Ambassador (Ret.) Susan Elliott, former U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan and Senior Fellow at CPC, moderated an insightful conversation among the webinar participants about strategies that could be employed to incentivize women’s participation in Tajikistan’s economic development.
“Women and girls when given the right opportunities are key to creating positive change in our society,” said Ambassador Elliott.
Numerous societal and economic barriers exist that limit women’s ability to seek employment and grow their businesses. Dr. Randy Kolstad, Acting Mission Director at USAID in Tajikistan, joined the webinar as a keynote speaker and shared his thoughts on how to protect women entrepreneurs in Tajikistan who primarily work in the services and trade sectors from the effects of uncontrollable economic shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is limited access to finance that prevents women from expanding their businesses. We know that women are 3.5x more likely than their male counterparts to borrow from family and friends,” shared Dr. Kolstad.
Dr. Gulbakhor Makhkamova, President of Financial Inclusion in Development and Founder and Chairwomen of the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan; Nasibakhon Aminova, Executive Director of the National Association of Small and Medium Business of the Republic of Tajikistan; and Malika Jurakulova, Gender Advisor at USAID Tajikistan joined the webinar as panelists and discussed the efforts to alleviate the economic and societal burdens placed on women entrepreneurs.
“Women entrepreneurs are concentrated in services and trade, the two sectors that generally have a weak capacity to grow and develop and are easily impacted by shocks to the economy,” said Dr. Makhkamova.
“USAID will keep supporting women and girls in Tajikistan to build their capacity and, of course, empower them economically. We believe in female entrepreneurship, and we will strive further to provide our support and help to those women and girls who want to embark on launching or expanding their businesses,” said Ms. Jurakulova.
“It is very important to start with creating a common infrastructure for the development of the private sector in e-commerce (tax system, understanding the laws of the market in electronic circulation, etc.), and then, through support mechanisms, to attract women business to e-commerce,” said Ms. Aminova.
Overall, the speakers agreed that the inclusion of women in economic development would expedite growth for Tajikistan and provide greater opportunities for the country. Building resilience for women-owned enterprises, extending digital services to all businesses, and continuing to provide microloans for SMEs would greatly enhance Tajikistan’s economy and its standing in global markets.
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ABOUT CASPIAN POLICY CENTER
The Caspian Policy Center (CPC) is an independent, nonprofit research think tank based in Washington D.C. Economic, political, energy, and security issues of the Caspian region constitute the central research focus of the Center. CPC aims at becoming a primary research and debate platform in the Caspian region with relevant publications, events, projects, and media productions to nurture a comprehensive understanding of the intertwined affairs of the Caspian region.
With an inclusive, scholarly, and innovative approach, the Caspian Policy Center presents a platform where diverse voices from academia, business, and the policy world from both the region and the nation’s capital interact to produce distinct ideas and insights about the outstanding issues of the Caspian region. Learn more at caspianpolicy.org.
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