The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new US$19 million five-year activity, USAID Trade Central Asia, which will be implemented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The new trade activity will build on USAID’s decades of achievements facilitating regional trade, enterprise development, and regional connectivity. USAID Trade Central Asia will take a facilitative approach towards three strategic objectives, providing the public and private sector with technical assistance to achieve these goals.

First, the activity will work towards harmonization of customs and border procedures in order to reduce costs and wait times and spur economic growth in the region.  Second, it will facilitate public-private dialog about beneficial reforms that can spur growth and increase investment.  Third, the activity will work with stakeholders to increase cross-border trade among firms in the region as well as between Central Asian firms and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, USAID marked the successful completion of its five-year regional Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs Activity in late January.  The activity facilitated Central Asian exports and increased employment in horticulture, tourism, and transportation and logistics services.  The activity successfully increased competitiveness and expanded trade in these sectors within the region and beyond.

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 horticultural, tourism, and transportation and logistics sectors to increase their exports, grow their businesses, and create new jobs.  The Innovation Fund leveraged $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.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results.