This study has been implemented within the framework of the project “MOST – A model for sustainable tourism in Central Asia: Building Capacities, Creating Awareness, Introducing technology” co-funded by the European Union that aims at promoting a new and well-structured model for sustainable tourism in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan that can contribute to preserving and strengthening local heritage while protecting the natural environment.
The transition from the traditional ways of operation to a sustainable model requires investments on the side of MSMEs. In Central Asia in general, around one-quarter of SMEs identify access to finance as a major constraint to doing business. The problem is exacerbated by the limited availability of information and a lack of financial infrastructures. It is therefore crucial for MSMEs to be able to identify financial resources that may allow them to move forward from planning to implementing sustainable models of operation.
Against this backdrop, this study aims to identify potential funding opportunities for tourism sector MSMEs in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, in order to facilitate their access to finance.
Most private sector funding comes from two major sources: state programmes that facilitate MSMEs financing and local FIs, such as commercial banks and MFIs. Alongside national state programmes, however, there are several international donor organisations, such as multi-country partnership funds, development banks and private DFIs, which aim to foster development either directly, through financial and non-financial support to MSMEs, or through partnering with local FIs. A third option to SME funding pertains to private equity firms, which may provide investment to potentially profitable MSMEs.
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