bp, Azerbaijan’s KOBIA sign memorandum of understanding

bp on behalf of its co-venturers in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Shah Deniz and South Caucasus Pipeline projects – SOCAR, TPAO, LUKOIL, NICO, MOL, Equinor, SGC, INPEX, ExxonMobil, ITOCHU, TotalEnergies, Eni, ONGCVidesh – has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Azerbaijan’s Small and Medium Business Development Agency (KOBIA) to continue to work together in support of the development of local businesses, News.Az reports. 

This builds on the effective cooperation with KOBIA under the first MoU signed in 2018 which has resulted in the successful delivery and close out of one of the major enterprise development projects - the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) funded by bp and its co-venturers. Launched in 2007, the EDP has been a crucial channel to engage with multiple stakeholders joining their efforts in support of local business development.

Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, bp’s vice president for the Caspian region, communications and external affairs, said: “With the new MoU we remain committed to supporting the development of local businesses. We believe the EDP has been exceptionally successful in bringing together all interested parties who aim to contribute to the broadening of Azerbaijan’s economic base and to enhance the capacity of local enterprises. Indeed, this programme has been an excellent opportunity for local enterprises to reach international standards and compete for supply contracts creating a competitive environment in domestic markets and the wider Caspian region.

“We are now closing out this project and starting a new joint activity with KOBIA. Through this cooperation we aim to build on the success of the EDP. And once again, while we are really proud of what we have achieved over the past 15 years through investing in the development of local enterprises, we now look forward to new, even more exciting opportunities to continue our support to that end.”

The signing of the new MoU was followed by launching two new projects.

The first project is a 20-month initiative in support of developing youth entrepreneurship in rural areas including communities in the Samukh, Goranboy and Shamkir districts.

This project is based on a three-stage development programme. Stage 1 aims to select business oriented young people from low-income families and train them in preparation for their future business activities. Once properly trained, the participants will enter stage 2 during which they will receive necessary equipment and tools required for them to start their small businesses. At stage 3, the project participants will continue to receive support from the project through a mentorship programme that will help them efficiently use the knowledge, skills and equipment provided by the project.

The total value of this project is more than 495,000 AZN ($291,200).

The project will be implemented by the public union ‘Support for Rural Development’ (“Kənd İnkişafına Dəstək” İctimai Birliyi).

The second project is in support of the development of community-based agricultural tourism in the Tovuz district. It specifically aims to create income generation and employment opportunities for selected low-income families in the region. The project scope includes training for the staff of seven selected agro-tourism service providers - 20 people in total, provision of equipment and tools, refurbishment support, if required, and mentorship.

The total value of this one-year project is around 100,000 AZN (around $59,000).

The project will be implemented by the public union ‘Regional Development’ (Regional İnkişaf İctimai Birliyi).


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