On June 24, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham), co-hosted a joint conference on “Women’s Economic Empowerment through the development of a Women’s National Business Agenda (WNBA) in Azerbaijan.” During the event, which was attended by senior government officials, private sector leaders, and members of the diplomatic community, AmCham signed a Declaration on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
The conference featured discussions with public and private sector attendees on how to build a better business environment in order to strengthen the role of women in the country's economy. AmCham and USAID’s Private Sector Activity also revealed the results of surveys conducted on the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and proposed remedies to address them. Azerbaijani Government officials from the Small and Medium Business Development Agency, State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Issues, the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (KOBIA), and the Agrarian Development Finance Agency (AKIA) also delivered remarks during the event.
“This Agenda advocates for a more enabling environment for women in the economy and the workplace,” noted Michael Dickerson, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S Embassy in Azerbaijan. “We believe women entrepreneurs are an important driver of the national economy, and represent the greatest growth potential leading to Azerbaijan’s continued sustainable and inclusive development. We will continue to support this process in any way possible, because the United States wants to help Azerbaijan become more prosperous and economically diverse.”
Gulnara Aslanbayli, Executive Director of AmCham Azerbaijan, explained, “there is increasing recognition that economically empowering women is essential both to realize women’s rights and to achieve broader development goals such as economic growth, education, welfare.” “Realizing that economically empowering women is a win-win that can benefit not only women, but society more broadly, we decided to commit one of AmCham’s strategic activity directions aimed to improve business environment in the country to the goal of women’s economic empowerment.
The event concluded with group discussions on the priorities identified as a result of survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews.
USAID’s Private Sector Activity (PSA) utilizes a partnership and co-investment approach to support a more resilient Azerbaijan economy and improve the business enabling environment. PSA empowers and builds the capacity of Azerbaijan's women-owned, women-led and women-focused businesses and professional associations to deliver women's economic empowerment support sustainably.