The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday marked the successful completion of its five-year regional Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs activity project.
The project facilitated Central Asian exports and increased employment in horticulture, transport and logistics services, and tourism industries, the USAID said in its press release.
Across Central Asia, USAID invested $1.97 million in 34 innovation projects co-financed through an Innovation Fund, established to incentivize partners to undertake innovative initiatives in the horticulture, transportation and logistics, and tourism sectors to increase their exports, grow their businesses, and create new jobs.
The Innovation Fund facilitated $5.89 million in private sector investment, which resulted in 23 companies creating 634 new jobs and 13 firms exporting products to 37 new markets.
Contribution to Central Asian horticulture
USAID also supported significant advances in Central Asian horticulture, including the development of the “Taste of Central Asia” brand to promote the region and its products. It also created a virtual guide featuring Central Asian horticulture growers and exporters. These business-to-business (b2b) events resulted in deals worth $17.5 million.
Contribution to the regions tourism sector
USAID worked in partnership with tourism associations, national tourism committees, and more than 400 private sector representatives to create and promote a regional tourism brand to visit Central Asia. USAID partnered with WideOyster Travel Magazine to create a dedicated Central Asia Special Edition on this globally recognized online travel platform.
The organization also developed a 3D panoramic maps of Central Asian tourism sites to inspire travelers to explore the region. The USAID also created and published detailed descriptions on 31 new trekking routes. This support contributed to Lonely Planet magazine naming Central Asia as the world’s best travel region for January 2020.
Contributions to region’s trade growth
Over the five years, the USAID Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs activity organized the Central Asia Trade Forum, the annual events promoting regional trade in Central Asia. During that time, the forum evolved into a brand that attracted over 16 thousand business representatives and officials throughout five years to discuss key trade themes and to partner to increase regional trade. More than $88 million in contracts were signed during the forums and b2b events.
On October 5 last year, the USAID announced its new five-year $19 million USAID Trade Central Asia activity that is being implemented in the five countries of Central Asia.