Stronger Together

Speeches Shim

Monday, February 28, 2022
Marina Kuznechevskaya is a renowned expert in the air freight and aviation industry from Kazakhstan

Thanks to USAID, Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) expands its global network to Central Asia, empowering women employed in the sector.

Marina Kuznechevskaya is a renowned expert in the air freight and aviation industry from Kazakhstan, with nearly two decades of work experience in international logistics and global supply chains. Marina knows the importance of her industry and the domino effect it can have if something doesn’t go according to plan.

“Transport and logistics interconnect all parts of the world. A huge blockade at the Suez Canal demonstrated that a disruption in logistics can severely damage trade and quickly cause food crises in many countries.”

Early in her career, Marina had a mentor who helped bring her into this largely male-dominated industry. Her experience with this mentor and sense of community created by their interaction, inspired her to join other women in the sector and promote their experience Since March 2021, Marina has been the Global Vice Chairperson Central Asiaof Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), an association of women working in the logistics and transport sector that brings together women in the sector to support women’s career development and to provide a support network and mentoring opportunities for women working in the sector.

WiLAT is associated with the international Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), a leading professional body in supply chain, logistics, and transport. CILT in Central Asia partners with  USAID through the USAID Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs Activity.

Marina is also the General Director of FlyDubai airlines in Central Asia. As General Director, Marina manages a diverse team from 128 countries that flies to more than 90 destinations and carries 70 million passengers per year.

As Global Director of a major airline, Global Vice Chairperson Central Asia of WiLAT, and a member of CILT, she attracts some of the finest talent in the industry.

With women making up only 22% of transport workers globally, Marina is among a small group of women professionals in the sector. Women working in transport and logistics face barriers to their career development, so Marina’s success is noteworthy.  

WiLAT was formally launched in 2013 to address some of these constraints. The group’s main goals are to elevate the status of women in the transport and logistics sector, promote women’s talent and career development, and provide a support network and mentorship opportunities for women in the sector. With a growing demand and an ever-expanding network, WiLAT has over 4,500 female members from 35 countries.

“Networking links people together, helps individuals get to the next level, and creates new opportunities. A majority of small-and-medium-sized enterprises in transport and trade have limited access to information and knowledge compared to big corporations,” says Marina.

To increase the number of  women working in the logistics and transport sector, USAID helped expand WiLAT’s network, and support the establishment of WiLAT Central Asia in 2021. “We are young and ambitious in Central Asia. In a relatively short period of time, we have conducted over 25 networking events for 300 women and are planning for even more activities across the region. We now have 62 WiLAT Central Asian members,” notes Marina, who also serves as the Chair for WiLAT Central Asia.

Since its launch, WiLAT Central Asia has delivered a Career and Life Formula Program that includes human resources, communications, business processes and career opportunities for 45 university students and signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Transport and Logistics Partnership (TLP) in Central Asia to increase TLP members’ capacity to improve public-private dialogue.

TLP is an association of 150 of the largest transport and logistics unions and private companies in Central Asia. The partnership actively supported private sector advocates to lobby for government policy reforms to remove trade barriers, improve the flow of goods, enhance regional competitiveness, and increase employment in transport and logistics.

Through continued support to WiLAT Central Asia, the newly launched USAID Trade Central Asia Activity will create conditions that encourage and empower women to develop their careers, share experiences, strengthen their firms, and form new business relationships across the region and beyond. This pioneering effort is another milestone of greater regional connectivity in Central Asia.

WiLAT Central Asia is keen to welcome new members across the region, ensuring a bright future in logistics and transport. “I hope WiLAT will lead to a permanent networking platform and positively shape women’s economic integration for years to come. We are stronger together,” concluded Marina.

About this Story

The new USAID Trade Central Asia Activity builds on USAID’s decades of achievements facilitating regional trade, enterprise development, and regional connectivity. The Activity takes 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.

Last updated: May 26, 2022

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