More than 400 business leaders, including 30 women, met in in Karzai Hall in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on June 4 to discuss ways of improving the business environment Nangarhar Province. Organized by CIPE and led by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry‘s Nangarhar chapter and a coalition of 12 local business associations, the participants discussed the barriers and challenges to doing business in the province and identified policy solutions to support business growth.
The event is part of a CIPE supported Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) program. The PBA is a grassroots effort to bring the local business community together to develop a list of policy priorities to improve the business climate in the province.
Using the ideas and input from the participants, the coalition of local business associations compiled the data and produce a Nangarhar Provincial Business Agenda document that will be shared with government officials and the public. The coalition will use the PBA to conduct an advocacy campaign to encourage the government to adopt the recommended reforms.
In addition to business leaders, several government officials, academics, and representatives from civil society attended the event. Nangarhar Governor Attaullah Ludin spoke at the event and pledged the support of the government in working with the business community to enact reforms. He also reinforced the government’s commitment to promoting a market economy.
The participants divided into groups to focus on specific sectors of the local economy. Those groups were industrialists; services, education and health; handicrafts and traders; women-owned businesses; exports and imports; agriculture; carpets; construction; transportation; and marble. Each group discussed the issues facing their particular sector as well as the overall economic environment. The groups reported back the challenges they identified as well as the policy solutions they felt would best improve the business climate.
The event was widely covered by the media including Tolo TV, Khurshaid TV, Shamshad TV, and Radio Television Afghanistan.
Tim Wallace is Assistant Program Officer for Afghanistan and South Asia at CIPE.