Reducing corruption in Kyrgyzstan (or anywhere) is a challenge. An enabling environment such as a strong legal system is required. This may take years, if not decades, to achieve. SME Investor Attractiveness ("SIA") involves an innovative approach that will work in the existing environment, delivering almost immediate results.
The following characteristics are incorpoated into SIA's design:
Use Approaches that Already Work
On a case by case basis, investors do get protection, and are able to avoid corruption. As an example, businesses connected with high profile persons generally do not face corruption related problems such as demand for bribes and harassment. This is because the "privileged relationship" deters corruption.
SIA is creating a “privileged relationship” to benefit foreign owned SMEs. Government is part of SIA and senior officials are on the board of directors. Private sector will also be represented on the board, to put ‘peer’ pressure. Foreign owned SMEs will be members of SIA. The SMEs indirect ‘relationship’ with government will provide protection and corrupt practices. Protection in this instance refers to protection of shareholder rights for example. In developed economies the legal system provides protection. With SIA, high level support will ensure that the legal system functions to provide protection.
Focus on Areas that do not Conflict with Politicians Agenda
Corruption exists, and continue to exist, because public officials have vested interests or personal agendas. Overcoming vested interests is possible but challenging. SIA's approach is to avoid areas where there are vested interests. Generally speaking, politicians have greater 'interest' in larger businesses and in strategic sectors. They are more likely to genuinely support anticorruption efforts focusing on sectors that do not conflict with their personal interests, such as SMEs.
Collaboration between Different Stakeholders
SIA involves collaboration between different government agencies and private sector. The collaboration is through an independent structure which is not influenced by changes in government or government policies. It is the first time that such a level of collaboration has been achieved.
Have a Sustainable Structure
Changes in government can affect the future of SIA. Having broad support ensures continuity if and when government changes. SIA has secured support from government, all leading political parties and a parliamentary subcommittee.