EDGE (Economic Development, Governance, and Enterprise Growth)

Status: Ongoing

Since 2019, IDG has been implementing the USAID Economic Development, Governance, and Enterprise (EDGE) Growth in Europe and Eurasia (E&E) project, which spans 12 countries. EDGE’s primary objective is to promote Euro-Atlantic integration and foster inclusive economic growth. Through EDGE, IDG works to reduce barriers to cross-border trade, enhance the business environment through increased public and private sector engagement, broaden access to finance, bolster competitiveness through supporting value chains, and promote investment transparency.

We have implemented trade facilitation activities throughout the Western Balkans, Caucasus, and Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus region to reduce the time and cost for goods to cross borders and provided support to value chains such as adventure tourism, light manufacturing, and agriculture production and processing.


  • Europe and Eurasia

Country / Countries

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Republic of Georgia
  • Serbia
  • Ukraine
Europe and Eurasia

Selected Results

  • Actively supported the establishment of a joint border crossing point (JBCP) at Kjafasan-Qafe Thane between North Macedonia and Albania which was officially opened in July 2023. This effort included producing a needs assessment for the JBCP, providing a grant to the government of North Macedonia to purchase equipment for the JBCP, and providing technical assistance on the implementation of the JBCP.
  • Assisted the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) to draft and adopt Decision No 1/2021 to incorporate the amendments of the Pan-Euro Mediterranean Convention on Rules of Origin. The decision entered into force in December 2022 and is the first decision ratified by all seven CEFTA parties in three years.
  • Organized a study tour for Georgian and Azerbaijani customs offices to visit the JBCP Tabanovce – Presevo at the 8border between North Macedonia and Serbia. Despite the Azerbaijani officials not permitted to attend by their government, the Georgian delegation participated in the study tour and EDGE presented the JBCP concept, model, and key implementation considerations. In July 2023, Georgia and Azerbaijan signed an agreement to establish a JBCP at the “Red Bridge” crossing point, leading to the redirection of cargo movements through the Trans-Caspian East-West Transport Corridor (China – Central Asia – Azerbaijan – Georgia – EU).
  • Supported over 100 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in obtaining various certifications and standards. These include certifications such as Forest Stewardship Council for sustainable forest management, food safety certifications like Global Gap, and international quality control standards such as Chain of Custody and Business Social Compliance Initiative.
  • EDGE’s flagship tourism initiative, Trans Dinarica, is an 80-stage route designed to connect all countries in the Western Balkans. This route, suitable for all fitness levels, is being digitized with navigation maps, GPX coordinates, and other critical information available online and downloadable. Scheduled for completion in July 2024, Trans Dinarica will become a catalyst for sustainable tourism development along the entire route, offering a unique experience for travelers while promoting economic growth and environmental conservation in the region.
  • Supported over 200 SMEs improve their management practices and technologies. This support included developing business plan strategies, implementing production simulations, capacity building for export marketing and online sales, and facilitating participation in study tours and exchanges.

EDGE has seven buy-ins in six countries and one buy-in throughout the E&E region.

Areas of Expertise

Private Sector Development

The Albania Support for Private Sector (SPS) Activity facilitated sustainable economic growth in Albania through initiatives aimed at enhancing private sector competitiveness and improving access to finance. SPS investments totaled $2,338,000 into 21 SMEs, which surpassed the original target of $800,000. These investments focused on the expanding production facilities within the agriculture and wood industries, thus increasing the competitiveness of their respective value chains.

SPS worked to improve the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency’s capacity to evaluate grant applications from agribusinesses for EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD) funding. It also bolstered the agency’s staff proficiency in preparing for accreditation under the EU IPARD’s program.

Trade Facilitation

The Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia Promoting Regional Integration through Networking and Cooperation (PRINC) promoted sustainable regional connections among the three economies. We facilitated communication among chambers, associations, and business support organizations to address implementation gaps in legal and regulatory reform collaboratively. Though PRINC, we enabled the sharing of best practices from the E-Commerce Educational Academy of Serbia with North Macedonia and Albania. This included the development of instructional modules focusing on start-up, legal and trade practices, accompanied by a promotional video highlighting the benefits of e-commerce and the transition of traditional businesses into e-commerce practices.

Capacity Building

The Ukraine Grants for Advocacy on Privatization (GAP) initiative empowered civil society to monitor privatization and educate citizens about its benefits for the country. We distributed grants to civil society organizations to execute privatization communication strategies, offer public access to real-time privatization information, and promote understanding of the privatization process and its societal advantages. Our endeavors aimed to ensure the fair and transparent privatization of state-owned assets.

Enabling Environment

The Armenia Business Enabling Environment (ABEE) Activity improved the trade and investment business environment in Armenia by deepening competition.

  • Helped Armenia diversify its export markets by conducting a study on “Alternative Export Markets for Armenian Key Impacted Product Groups.” This identified vulnerable products affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and suggested alternative export markets. IDG presented the results to public and private stakeholders and during the event the Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan noted that the study would lay the foundation for Armenia’s Export Strategy.
  • Prepared a “Food Security Landscape Assessment” to support the Government of Armenia (GOAM) to improve the national food system, making it more sustainable, market-oriented, nutrition-sensitive, and resilient. Due to economic sanctions and Russia’s war in Ukraine, food insecurity in Armenia has risen. The assessment results guided the development of a new food security strategy and action plan for 2023-2026, which were approved by the GOAM.
  • Aided in establishing the Regulatory Impact Assessment Department at the Prime Minister’s Office. It provided capacity building and training to promote evidence-based, transparent, and cost-effective policymaking.

Market Systems/Competitiveness

The Moldova Competitiveness Transition Activity (MCTA) focused on providing economic recovery and post-pandemic assistance to Moldova’s tourism sector. IDG offered technical assistance and support through a grants program totaling $1,213,815 to local tourism micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and flagship organizations in the light industry and tourism sectors, and institutional capacity building support of these organizations. $554,967 was awarded for in-kind resiliency grants to 40 MSMEs, including guesthouses, tourism providers, and unique small businesses, in response to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Innovation and Digitalization

The Ukraine State-Owned Enterprises Reform Rapid Response Activity (SOERR) provided professional support to state owned enterprises and reform efforts, including support for reforms within the real estate sector. A key accomplishment was the privatization of the Dnipro Hotel, which exceeded expectations at auction, with four bids over 1 billion Ukrainian Hryvnia. The hotel ultimately sold for 1.111 billion UAH (approximately US$41 million) to a Ukrainian bidder. We also assisted Ukrainian authorities in procuring Automated Valuation Model software for assessing property values, enhancing the accuracy of real estate valuations and facilitating effective resource mobilization.

Financial Stability

Through the Ukraine Investment Potential Activity (IPA), IDG released a report titled “A New Ukraine: Catalyzing Investment in Freedom, Peace, and Prosperity.” The report was presented by Administrator Power during the 2023 United States-Ukraine Partnership Forum—a collaborative effort initiated by the United States Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Department of State, Department of Commerce, and USAID, and supported by the Embassy of Ukraine. The report serves as a clear and concise roadmap for the various stakeholders involved in reconstructing Ukraine’s economy. It outlines eight important reform areas, including establishing a competitive business enabling environment, expediting the country’s EU accession, strengthening institutions, and others, to propel the nation toward sustained growth and prosperity.

Enabling Environment

The Investment Transparency Activity (ITA) focuses on collaborating with governments to enhance their capacity in establishing and regulating ultimate beneficial ownership registries. IDG supports progress in adopting and implementing public procurement laws, public-private partnership laws, and concession laws aligned with the EU Acquis requirements across the region. The initiative involves providing training to government officials on cost-benefit analysis for public procurements and enhancing functionality and efficiency of ePublic Procurement Portals.  We also organize study tours to Poland for investment promotion agencies to glean insights from best practices in attracting investment.