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Azerbaijani SMEs got great potential for digitalization - OECD

Economy Materials 17 May 2022 09:44 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijani SMEs got great potential for digitalization - OECD
Maryana Akhmedova
Maryana Akhmedova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 17. Over 60 percent of the Azerbaijani small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increased their digital skills since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trend reports, citing the "Beyond COVID-19: Advancing Digital Business Transformation in the Eastern Partner Countries" research paper from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to the publication, despite strict lockdowns due to the pandemic, Azerbaijani enterprises showed more significant results, compared to the countries with softer lockdowns.

Within the framework of "Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities on the social-economic development", Azerbaijan is developing a strategy on economic and social development, including the digitalization of the SMEs, an OECD report said.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries conduct quantitative and/or qualitative workforce forecasting, which can support the analysis of skills gaps based on a shortage or surplus of labor. However, according to the estimates of the OECD, only Azerbaijan has implemented a regular quantitative labor force forecasting model.

In Azerbaijan, national digitalization strategies are narrowly focused on connectivity issues, the development of e-government services and the development of the ICT sector. Some measures are envisaged to support the development of digital culture and awareness, the development of digital skills among students, the general population and entrepreneurs, as well as the introduction of digital solutions by enterprises in non-ICT sectors, the report said.

Existing government initiatives in Azerbaijan focus mainly on information support for SMEs, provision of training and consulting services, as well as financial support in the form of grants and loans with preferential interest rates, OECD said.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan plans to develop a National Strategy on Information Security and Cybersecurity for 2022-2027, where a cybersecurity incidents report mechanism will be envisaged in.

"Azerbaijan has well-established agencies with proven track records and long-standing programs supporting SMEs, and faces a clear opportunity to evolve the palette of services and provide dedicated initiatives for the digital transformation of SMEs beyond the segment of high-tech start-ups," the report concluded.

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