Trade & Investment and Competitiveness
Regional Trade Promotion
The Pragma Corporation’s trade promotion work in Central Asia has placed us in a unique position to enhance commercial linkages, both within and among countries in the region and internationally. In particular, our USAID-funded Enterprise Development Project had a trade component called Regional Trade Promotion (RTP). We had 31 Trade Specialists operating in 17 locations across five countries. The 31 Trade Specialists consisted of 10 Enterprise Development Project staff and 21 RTP external partners, offering clients a range of online and offline trade related services. RTP market penetration was optimized by recruiting, training, and mentoring RTP External Partners to deliver RTP services to companies located in the areas not covered by USAID EDP Trade Specialists.
Our Trade Specialists worked mostly with small and medium enterprise (SME) clients in Central Asia assisting them in locating new markets, suppliers, and buyers. The Trade Specialists often were able to bring potential trade partners together just by virtue of knowledge of a particular market or through their contacts in the region. The RTP activity has also set up a virtual market place at www.smetradecenter.net, where registered users can locate buyers or sellers, or Trade Specialists can do so on behalf of their clients. The Trade Specialists post offers to buy and sell products and services, and then contact with each other to match deals for their clients. Through RTP, Central Asian companies get regional and international exposure for their products; access to a broader, market-oriented supply base; trade and economic information on the various regions of Central Asia; and opportunities to compete for business with specific buyers.
A network of trained Trade Specialists introduces their local small and medium enterprises to the benefits of Regional Trade Promotion and the use of the e-commerce website. The Trade Specialists introduce the companies to potential trade partners and turn trade leads into deals. The internet marketplace and individual trade assistance services for Central Asian companies provide a dual language (English and Russian) e-commerce facility for connecting companies with each other and with international trading partners
Although all companies throughout the world can register to be part of this exciting trade program, the RTP Program focused on provision of RTP services to companies in Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Companies from those areas represent 71% of 5,067 companies currently registered with the RTP Program. Once registered, they are eligible to receive Regional Trade Promotion Services, their products will be promoted on the internationally accessible website, and they will be able to search for business opportunities themselves through the same website.
Highlights and Results:
The RTP system in Central Asia has directly helped to secure over 900 trade deals valued over $126 million for businesses in Central Asia over its 4 years of operation. To ensure its sustainability, a commercialization strategy for the Regional Trade Promotion (RTP) component of the USAID Enterprise Development Project is currently under review. The commercialization strategy focuses on driving commercialization through the smetradecenter.net site. It is through this product that RTP has achieved its greatest impact to date, and it is considered that the greatest prospects for growth and revenue generation rest on further expansion of the functionality and user base of the website. The test marketing of RTP services on a fee paying basis, identifying the highest revenue generating services and analyzing levels of demand for services by country and region, will be followed by a transfer to sustainability through privatizing the RTP network.
RTP website highlights:
Registrations of RTP website users
The total number of RTP website registered users has reached 5,067 users with average monthly registrations of 57.5 new users (+280% compared with September 04 data)
Trade leads posted at RTP website
The total number of active trade leads posted at RTP website (English & Russian versions) has reached 646 trade leads with average monthly trade leads posted of 109.5 (+248% compared with March 05 data)
In an effort to make RTP website a truly global B2B marketplace RTP program attracts visitors from 120 countries to pursue new trading opportunities with RTP website community.
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