Since 2008, the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme has supported countries of the Eurasia region in the design and implementation of reforms in favour of competitiveness. The Programme uses OECD instruments and tools in order to assess where and how to enhance competitiveness of countries, sectors and regions to generate sustainable growth. The Programme covers two Eurasia sub-regions: Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and Eastern Europe and South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine).
To strengthen regional policy dialogue and peer learning, the Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable was established in 2013. It serves as a platform for peer review and knowledge sharing on the implementation of reforms in favour of competitiveness. The Roundtable enhances peer learning and dialogue between OECD members, the 13 Eurasian countries of the Programme, international organisations and development agencies (EBRD, GIZ, IFC, JICA, OSCE, UNDP and the World Bank) on good practices in policy making and work methods. The Roundtable meets once a year and carries out peer reviews of the implementation of competitiveness reforms at the country level with OECD Member country experts. Each year, the Programme prepares 2-3 Eurasia countries for peer review through an in-depth competitiveness assessment and prepares draft country reports that include guidelines on how to address main policy barriers to competitiveness identified in the assessment which are submitted for peer review to the Roundtable.
The KSA supported the participation of the heads of the 13 Eurasia country delegations in the two Roundtable meetings held in 2013 and 2014. The first Roundtable meeting was held on 4 December 2013 at the OECD, during which the results of the Programme’s peer review work carried out in the Kyrgyz Republic and Moldova were presented and discussed. A high-level delegation of the two peer-reviewed countries, led by their respective Deputy Prime Ministers (Mr. Joomart Otorbaev of the Kyrgyz Republic and Mr. Valeriu Lazar of Moldova), presented the countries’ main competitiveness challenges and engaged in a policy dialogue with Roundtable participants that included Ministers, public officials and representatives of international organisations, as well as OECD Ambassadors and experts.
The country-specific projects with Armenia and Tajikistan came to close with the Peer Review at the second Roundtable, held as part of the OECD Eurasia Week on 26-27 November 2014 in Paris. Final country-specific workshops were organised in Armenia and Tajikistan in March 2015 and June 2015 to launch the peer review reports and discuss the implementation of recommendations. These workshops helped to share knowledge with policy makers, private sector representatives and development partners on the ground on how to implement the suggested recommendations and align on potential follow-up activities.
The OECD and GIZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding in June 2010 outlining areas of co-operation between the Eurasia Competitiveness Programme and the GIZ Regional Department of Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This co-operation helped to create synergies and increase the impact of both institutions’ work in the joint delivery of advisory projects on policy reform design and implementation to selected Eurasia partner countries. Hence, all projects were implemented in close collaboration with GIZ country offices for logistical assistance and country experience. For example, operational project implementation agreements were concluded with key German Technical Co-operation Programmes, implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ; these are Promotion of Sustainable Economic Development Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic, Programme on Private Sector Development in South Caucasus in Armenia, and Framework and Finance for Private Sector Development Programme in Tajikistan. Other partner organisations which are invited to participate in working group meetings on a quarterly basis include the EU, EBRD, the World Bank, IFC, ADB, JICA, WEF, UNDP, USAID, UNIDO and ITC.
A project with Georgia, initially scheduled for peer review in 2014, was postponed upon request from the partner country for peer review in 2015 and has been launched in Q4 2014.