BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 12
By Fidan Babayeva - Trend:
Currently, the EU-funded project "Accelerating Development of Sustainable Micro- entrepreneurship in Rural Regions of Azerbaijan" is being implemented in four economic zones of the country, Executive Director of the Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) Jhale Hajiyeva said in an interview with Trend.
“The goal of this project is to expand the knowledge, abilities and business skills of micro-entrepreneurs, support micro and small businesses, ensure the market opportunities and financial support for this group in rural areas, and create new jobs,” Hajiyeva added.
"AMFA and microfinance organizations have already implemented more than 50 international projects, covering women from almost 3,000 low-income families in 16 districts,” executive director added. “Every year, we strive to expand the scope of our projects and give priority to the rural areas. We also hold international conferences every two years to support the development of micro and small businesses in the country. We plan to hold our 10th conference in October 2020.”
“In their activity, the micro-finance organizations focus on technical assistance projects that contribute to the development of women and youth entrepreneurship, agriculture,” Hajiyeva said.
"AMFA plans to accelerate the socio-economic development of regions, promote the social entrepreneurship, finance the agriculture, promote the innovative financial services and support the development of agriculture in 2020 in which low-income is observed," Hajiyeva said.
The executive director also emphasized that the association has been cooperating with European Microfinance Network (EMN) since 2011.
The microfinance was introduced in Azerbaijan in the mid-1990s as a strategy to meet the economic needs of up to one million internally displaced people and refugees who were forced to leave their houses during the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
A group of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) began offering micro-financing services to low-income local residents and war-affected people to create the opportunities for obtaining income and jobs in 1996.
They began to meet informally to share information about their work experience to remove the limitations that international NGOs face by issuing the loans with interest rates aimed at achieving sustainability.
The members of this informal working group decided to formally form the group into an association that will serve as the coordination microfinance center in Azerbaijan in December 2001.
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