Paving the way for the next generation of transport leaders

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Islam Kabdrashitov
Assel Choibekova for USAID’s Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs activity.

Adopting Cutting Edge Transport and Logistics Standards in Kazakhstan

Islam Kabdrashitov, an alumnus of the Logistics Department, graduated from the University of International Business in Kazakhstan last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passionate about international trade and inspired by global online companies, Islam found a job with an international transport and logistics company soon after graduation.

Islam was among 30 classmates of a newly designed education program that focuses on strategic planning and logistics management in supply chains at an international level. The University of International Business is pioneering an innovative curriculum in transport and logistics co-developed by USAID and other partner international organizations.

Kazakhstan’s transport sector employs over 640,000 individuals and accounts for 8.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Unfortunately, high accident and mortality rates on Kazakh and Central Asian roads puts many people at risk of injury or death. One of the most effective ways to address the problem is to ensure that transportation professionals like Islam are well-trained to understand and adopt the highest standards.

In Kazakhstan, the World Bank’s Skills and Jobs Project is currently leading a national effort to develop occupational standards across multiple sectors. It will become the basis for the country’s national qualifications system. Knowledge of and compliance with these high standards will be the new benchmark for safety and excellence. To achieve these standards, the entire system—from theory to practice—is being redesigned. This type of systemic change can only be accomplished with significant buy-in and participation from public- and private-sector stakeholders and supporting institutions.

To promote this ambitious agenda, USAID’s Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs activity partnered with the Central Asia Transport and Logistics Partnership (TLP), and Kazakhstan Union of Transport and Logistics Workers (KazLogistics) and facilitated private-public dialogue and helped stakeholders agree on the process to develop and implement these new professional standards. In cooperation with KazLogistics, USAID also supported the development of four new professional standards for transport and logistics workers.

Speaking about two of the new standards, TLP-member and professor, Vassiliy Korolev, noted: “The emergence of two professional standards “Transport and Logistics Specialist” and “International Cargo Transportation” within the educational program of the University of International Business not only helped reduce the gap between a university graduate and a young specialist in the enterprise, but also led to a tripling of the number of students entering these specialties—from 25 to 75 people.” 

USAID facilitates trade and employment in transport and logistics across the five Central Asian economies. In cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, USAID helped establish the Central Asia Transport and Logistics Partnership (TLP) in 2015 which started with 15 members. The TLP’s mission is to improve the quality of transport and logistics services throughout the region. Over the past five years, its membership has grown to 140 members across the five countries.

Aizhan Beiseyeva, USAID’s Regional Transport and Logistics Lead noted: “In addition to developing professional standards, Central Asia’s Transport and Logistics Partnership has worked with members to facilitate over $50 million in contracts for the transport of goods across the region over the last two years. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Partnership maintained a regular channel of communication to share information among members on supply chain impacts ranging from testing protocols to border closures.”

To share Kazakhstan’s experience in developing and deploying high professional standards, USAID and KazLogistics have begun working with the Tajikistan Ministry of Transport to adopt professional standards in the country.

According to Larissa Kislyakova, Chairwoman of the TLP: “Currently Tajikistan suffers chaotic and dangerous situations on its roads. Kazakhstan’s positive experience introducing professional transportation standards into educational curricula can be replicated in Tajikistan.”

Despite COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions and a rapidly changing global economy, Islam found a good job at an international transport company.

“It’s tough for a young graduate to stand out. But thanks to my specialized university degree, and my mentors, Vassiliy Korolev and Akbota Merembayeva, who helped me network and learn effective negotiations, I landed the job I wanted, fresh out of university,” concluded Islam Kabdrashitov, a young professional.


USAID’s Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs activity facilitates trade and employment in horticulture, tourism, transport, and logistics across the five Central Asian economies. By incentivizing firms to become more regionally competitive and by addressing cross-border impediments to trade, USAID helps to develop a more diverse and competitive private sector and generate export-driven growth.

Last updated: April 08, 2021

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