Tag Archives: afghanistan

Developing a National Business Agenda for Afghanistan


Since 2005, CIPE has been working with the business community in Afghanistan to build their capacity to work with the government to improve the business environment in Afghanistan. CIPE has helped business associations identify the challenges and barriers to business, develop practical policy solutions, and effectively communicate the policies to government officials.

A major step for the business community was the launch of the CIPE-supported Afghanistan National Business Agenda (NBA) in 2011. The NBA is a grassroots program to build consensus among the business community of the most urgent policy priorities. The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) led a coalition of 11 business associations in conducting public forums in five major cities with over 1,300 business people to gather input on improving the business environment. Based on the input from these forums, the coalition produced a report outlining the business community’s reform agenda.

Since the launch of the NBA in 2011, CIPE has supported the NBA coalition in advocating for the implementation of the policy reforms. The advocacy campaigns have been highly successful, increasing land and infrastructure for businesses, reducing and simplifying taxes and licenses, reducing corruption, and improving government services.

The 2014 Afghanistan presidential elections presented a great opportunity for a renewed efforts by the business community to advance their reform priorities. ACCI, in partnership with Harakat, organized a National Business Forum on February 27 to once again bring the business community together to unify behind a common agenda.

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The Way Forward in Afghanistan: Looking Beyond 2014

pajcciBy Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain and Hammad Siddiqui

As neighbors, Pakistan and Afghanistan have a number of commonalities. Both are predominantly Muslim countries and share similar values, culture, and civilization — as well as a long history of trade through both formal and informal channels. The signing of a new transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2010 has been termed as a major diplomatic accomplishment for both countries given the current geo-political environment. However, problems persist, especially in terms ensuring stability and growth in cross border trade and investment.

To help deal with these challenges, members of the business community from both countries formed the Pakistan and Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry in February 2012, with support from the British High Commission (BHC) and CIPE.

The core objective of the chamber is to facilitate peace prospects and strengthen economic and trade ties between the two countries. Since its establishment, PAJCCI has been aggressively pursuing its goal to ensure linkages between the business communities on both sides of the border.

The exchange of delegations, B2B and matchmaking sessions, circulation of trade and business opportunities, and annual  conference have become vital avenues for enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries. The platform has also provided an opportunity to raise the voice of business community on both  sides of the border, encouraging government officials to make changes that enhance cross-border trade and investment.

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Helping Afghanistan’s Provincial Councils Fight Corruption and Improve Governance

Kunar PC 2 Jan 22 2014

To improve local governance in Afghanistan, CIPE conducts training seminars for the Provincial Councils in Afghanistan on democratic governance and market economics, including topics like advocacy, corruption, and the informal economy. Using the knowledge gained from the seminars, many of the Provincial Councils have taken on issues affecting their communities.

CIPE recently discussed the efforts of the Kunar Provincial Council with Chairperson Haji Mia Hassan. After discussing corruption issues with local government officials, the Kunar Provincial Council filed corruption cases against several officials with the prosecutor’s office, including the director of the Customs Department and the Director of Haj and Endowments.

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Afghanistan Launches New Business Caucus in Parliament

The inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus

The inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus

By CIPE Kabul Staff

Entrepreneurs and businesspeople in Afghanistan face one of the most difficult business environments in the world, so close cooperation between the private sector and government is essential to putting the country’s economy back on track.

On November 16, CIPE capped off more than two years of work by organizing the inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus, which brings together business-friendly members of parliament (MPs) and representatives of the private sector. This new body will provide a platform to discuss issues of concern to the business community and ways in which the private sector and MPs can work together to make sure that Afghanistan passes key legislation to spur private sector development.

The first meeting brought together 18 MPs, including leading parliamentarians and members of relevant committees, with eight representatives of leading business associations: FACT (the Federation of Afghanistan Craftsmen and Traders), the Afghan Builders’ Association, the Industrialists’ Association, the Fruit Exporters’ Association, the Carpet Exporters’ Guild, the Afghan Chamber, and the Peace Through Business Network – a new women’s association.

“The promotion of the private sector is critical for creating employment opportunities, economic growth and the development of Afghanistan,” said Andrew Wilson, CIPE Deputy Director for Strategic Planning. Wilson affirmed CIPE’s support for, and cooperation with, the Business Caucus. CIPE Kabul staff – Mohammad Nasib, Mohammad Naim, and Ibrahim Hassan – served as moderators, discussing the CIPE-supported National Business Agenda (NBA) and the effort to create the Caucus.

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CIPE Launches New Afghanistan Website


CIPE is launching a new website focused on its programs in Afghanistan. Through its office in Kabul, CIPE strengthens democracy by building an understanding of market economics and encouraging public dialogue on economic reform. CIPE’s programs provide assist to stakeholders including members of the National Assembly and the Provincial Councils, business leaders and associations, and youth.

The website includes details of these ongoing programs. In conducting these programs, CIPE has translated a number of its publications and resources into Dari and Pashtu which are available on the website. The publications focus on topics including democratic governance and economic reform and building effective business associations. You can also download a copy of the Afghanistan National Business Agenda and CIPE’s survey on Afghan Business Attitudes on the Economy, Government, and Business Organizations.

The website will also feature the latest news on CIPE’s activities and announcements for upcoming events. You can find all of this at www.cipe-af.org.

Tim Wallace is Assistant Program Officer for South Asia at CIPE.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Seek Greater Economic Cooperation

The Afghan-Pakistan border. (Photo: EPA)

The Afghan-Pakistan border. (Photo: EPA)

While most of the coverage of today’s summit meeting in Islamabad between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai focused on crucial issues of security and the peace process, the two leaders also covered one of the key drivers of long-run regional stability: enhanced trade and economic relations between the two countries.

According to press reports, the sides discussed cooperation on infrastructure, power, and transportation projects. In particular, Pakistan promised to follow through on its pledges under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which is designed to facilitate the flow of goods from Afghanistan and for export via Pakistan, as well as through customs into Afghanistan, among other provisions. While the agreement is signed and in place, it has long faced an extensive range of issues in practical application.

CIPE has been working with the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry on joint advocacy efforts between business leaders in both countries to try to unblock APTTA implementation. Now that such public, high-level support has been given to the process, it will be up to the private sector to maintain the pressure to realize the APTTA vision of free-flowing trade between these neighbors.

Marc Schleifer is Senior Program Officer for South Asia at CIPE.

Wrapping Up Global Entrepreneurship Week

Tashabos students in Afghanistan celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“Entrepreneurship thrives where what you know matters more than who you know. Entrepreneurs are natural champions of these ideals; they crave space for creativity and possibility. These aren’t just economic ideals. They are political ideals too. Not just American ideals, but universal ones, and entrepreneurs are among their strongest advocates.” – Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, DC.

Last week was Global Entrepreneurship Week, which CIPE and partners celebrated here on the blog, on Twitter, and at events around the world.

On November 12, CIPE kicked off the week with a blog post from CIPE Chair Karen Kerrigan discussing why entrepreneurship, and particularly the “entrerpenruial ecosystem,” matters.

At a #GEWChat Twitter chat on Tuesday, November 13, 56 contributors discussed the economic, social, and political importance of entrepreneurship, reaching more than 390,000 people.

In Pakistan, CIPE hosted three major in events in Karachi, Islamabad, and Peshawar. The students at all three events discussed the difficult regulatory environment in Pakistan for start-up businesses, the lack of access to finance, law and order issues, and the discouragement of entrepreneurial risk-taking. Hammad Siddiqui wrote about the importance of supporting the next generation of Pakistani entrepreneurs.

In Latin America & the Caribbean, CIPE partner Revista Perspectiva organized a Spanish-language Twitter chat on entrepreneurship in Latin America. The discussion reached nearly 65,000 Twitter accounts and directly engaged entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the field.

In Afghanistan, an event held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education built awareness of the contributions of young entrepreneurs to Afghanistan’s economy and society. An exhibition at Bibi Sahrah girls’ high school gave 11 students from CIPE’s Tashabos high school entrepreneurship course the opportunity to display crafts and products they have developed and practice their marketing skills.

In Ukraine, CIPE partners hosted events all around the country, including the 5th “Ecoenergy” Youth Festival in Sevastopol.

Entrepreneurship is an especially important topic in the Middle East & North Africa region, where frustration with high youth unemployment and restrictive regulations led to the Arab Spring in 2011. On the blog, Brandon Nickerson discussed some of the barriers young entrepreneurs face in the MENA region and how they can overcome them.

On the blog, contributors also wrote about social entrepreneurship — what it means and how to categorize it.

Learn more about CIPE’s entrepreneurship programs around the world by watching the Prezi below!