Erzurum discusses its business opportunities
UNDP held a panel in partnership with Dunya Newspaper and Erzurum Chamber of Industry and Trade on 28 December 2005 to discuss business opportunities in Erzurum, a city in eastern Turkey.
New Horizons - The main sectors with economic value that came out in the discussions were agriculture, animal husbandry and other non-traditional income areas such as tourism and processing of 'Oltu' stone*.
Celalettin Güvenç, Governor of Erzurum made a speech on the importance of human capital and social capital in regional development. He also praised UNDP LEAP (Linking Eastern Anatolia to Progress) Programme for its contribution to the development of human capital in the region by stressing upon the "artificial insemination" campaign launched in 2005 in Erzurum and the development of Oltu stone processing activities both supported by UNDP-LEAP.
Muammer Cindilli, the Chairman of Erzurum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, briefly informed the audience on the capacity enhancement activities jointly implemented with LEAP's entrepreneurship support component. He mainly focused on the "project cycle management" training programmes and other consultancy services submitted by UNDP-LEAP Programme in order to enhance project design, formulation and implementation capacities for EU Regional Development Grant Programme to be launched in 2006.
Journalists and specialists from the prestigious daily of the Turkish business world, Dunya, Osman Arolat, Prof. Dr. Mithat Melen and Ali Ekber Yildirim delivered speeches on various aspects of local economic development and emphasized the importance of human and social capital in the development process.
Dr. Erol Cakmak, the Programme Manager of LEAP, presented "Erzurum-Erzincan-Bayburt SME Field Survey Study", conducted by LEAP in 2005. The study revealed the fact that SMEs in the region are not as innovative as it is needed for being competitive in the globalizing markets. They are not able to use information and communication technologies in their activities. The level of social capital is also low among local SME owners. The need for enhancing human resources is huge. The study concludes that non-physical sources of capital, such as cognitive, human, social, cultural, institutional and civic capital is much more important than physical capital for the development of Eastern Anatolia Region.
The panel ended with a common understanding that coordination among local stakeholders, governor's office, municipality, local public institutions, local chambers and local NGOs has to be further improved with the support of Ataturk University and the UNDP LEAP Programme.
UNDP LEAP Programme
The programme aims to support the areas of rural development, local entrepreneurship and rural tourism by helping to set up Sustainable Human Development models. These models will help increase income and reduce socio-economic disparities in the area while improving gender balance and safeguarding the environment. The models being developed will be comprehensive, effective, repeatable, extendable, and participatory. Phase 1 of the LEAP program was launched in mid-2001, focusing on three main areas of activity: Participatory Rural Development, Business Development and Rural Tourism.
In cooperation with local administrative bodies and NGOs in the region, LEAP is also supporting a number of development initiatives in areas such as women's employment, setting up youth centres and use of natural gas and geothermal energy.
*Oltu stone is semi-precious, and it is unique to Erzurum. It is also called "jet" or "black amber". Oltu stone is carved to produce various ornaments including rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, prayer beads, key-chains, pipes and boxes.