The United States through USAID’s Business Growth Initiative has been working with Kyrgyz apparel manufacturers since 2014 to optimize production and marketing in order to tap into multi-billion dollar export markets by targeting major retail chains and branded stores in Europe and CIS.
In February 2015, USAID hosted a business-to-business presentation of the production capabilities of the Kyrgyz apparel industry for foreign retailers. The retail buyers were highly impressed by the magnitude of apparel manufacturing in the Kyrgyz Republic, and by the advantages in flexible product development, lower logistics costs, and dramatically shorter lead times that Kyrgyz manufacturers have compared to many international competitors.
As a result of this meeting, Kyrgyz producers immediately signed and fulfilled contracts to export more than $1 million in clothing, primarily men’s suits.
Now that this USAID project demonstrated how competitive Kyrgyz clothing manufacturers are against major garment-producing countries, even more Kyrgyz companies are taking advantage of this opportunity. With USAID support, 22 leading manufacturers that employ over 1,700 workers joined the initiative to share best practices and improve their operations and marketing efforts. After expanding sales to current markets, the project will focus on exports to the European Union and potentially the United States.
USAID’s Business Growth Initiative is a four-year project that works with individual firms and stakeholders in the garment, tourism, and construction industries to improve productivity, access to markets, and management capacity to boost competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.