Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan formed a Customs Union in 2010 to integrate the three economies more by removing trade barriers across borders. The member states have shared a single economic space since the beginning of 2012.
The Institute of Privatization and Management (IPM) based in Minsk, Belarus surveyed 400 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2012 to understand better how SMEs view the Customs Union. The survey results showed that Belarus’ membership in the Customs Union poses challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises due to the difficulty of competing with Russian and Kazakh SMEs.
Informed and educated citizens are an important part of a thriving democracy. When citizens are well-informed and equipped with facts and independent analysis, they can better engage in the policymaking process at every level to keep the government honest, responsible, and accountable to its constituents.
Kyrgyzstan has a relatively free media compared to other Central Asian countries. However, good information on business and economic issues is scarce in Kyrgyzstan. Typically, available materials are written in professional jargon and not easily understood by average citizens or by journalists. Journalists lack the knowledge of basic market concepts and the benefits of market-oriented economic reforms.
CIPE’s partner, the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Press Club (KSEPC) engaged and educated journalists from different regions to improve economic and business reporting in Kyrgyzstan. To help journalists better understand crucial market-related issues, KSEPC published a 76-page practical manual (in Russian and Kyrgyz) for economic journalists concentrating on basic information regarding key economic sectors.