Afghanistan “truly open for business”
Afghanistan is building up its economy after over 30 years of conflict. President Ghani has put the economy high up on his agenda and has declared the country “truly open for business”.
In a step towards this goal, Kabul hosted the “First International Rebuild Exhibition and Conference”, a platform for government officials, private sector, and Chamber of Commerce members to meet, do business, and set development targets and programmes to help rebuild Afghanistan.
President Ghani has made it clear that improving Afghanistan’s economy is high up on the agenda. However, in a recent speech he stated that this “economic transition poses stark challenges”. As international donor countries meet in London to discuss Afghanistan’s future, President Ghani will hope to lay out his vision for the country to encourage continued international support. Ahead of this event, Kabul hosted the “First International Rebuild Exhibition and Conference”, a platform for government officials and the private sector to do business and set development targets to help rebuild Afghanistan.
Mushtaq Baaser, Graphic designer, Musalass Media Productions said “Now I think Afghanistan is going towards growth, economically, or business-wise. And before, we never could expect that these kinds of things would happen. These kinds of exhibitions and these kinds of opportunities would be there for some companies which are new to the industry and which are looking for some opportunities to improve their business and their services that they are providing. I think this would be the start and this is the start.”
President Ghani has been quoted as saying that he wants to move towards self-sufficiency and that he wants the country “truly open for business”.
Atiqullah Nasrat, Chief Executive Officer, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said “With the establishment of the new government, there are new opportunities arising, there are new opportunities coming. As you see more than 70 per cent of our products, construction materials are being imported from other countries, so there is a huge potential to produce these materials within Afghanistan. And we have some successful investments took place in the, you know, smelting factories, you know, steel production and as well as cement production factories. But that’s not sufficient. Afghanistan’s demand is huge. In order to meet the demands we have to do a lot of investments.”
Mohammad Amrey runs Etafaq, a biscuit, bread and juice company in Kabul. He says that thanks to local companies such as his, the overall import of these products has decreased, and he wants to see this trend continue for lots of industries.
“Afghanistan produces the best quality furniture. Today our printing industry has developed a lot. It could be one of the best in the region. There are many other examples like this – bags, food, beverages -and many more products that the Afghan market is producing right now. The Afghan people respect and use products that are manufactured in the country because they are happy that local people are producing goods, and they are proud that they are Afghan-made,” Amrey said.
President Ghani’s recent trips to Pakistan and China provided the opportunity to explore ways of boosting business with neighboring countries.
Nasrat, Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said “There were two visits of our president to China and Pakistan, together with around 35-40 private sector members accompanied him on each visit. It shows that he values a lot the private sector, and as well gives a lot of importance to the economic development. And these visits provided a good opportunity for our private sector to explore the opportunities in China, in Pakistan and as well as attract them to invest here.”
Afghanistan is rebuilding after over 30 years of conflict. President Ghani has stated that he does not want to ask the international community for charity. He said “we truly need to learn to fish, not to be given fish”.
This is the script of a NATOChannel story by Lauren Muchan.
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