Weekly Update: South Asia
Afghanistan – CIPE conducted a training session for 10 members of a working group of the Ghazni Provincial Council, with five councilor members and five representatives of the private sector participating. The sessions aim to increase the council’s capacity to advocate effectively at the grassroots level for implementation of the Afghanistan National Business Agenda. Specifically, this session addressed the transformation from an informal economy to a formal economy. The participants decided to work together with the local Directorate of Revenue and other relevant government bodies to encourage local businesses to formalize.
Afghanistan – CIPE Regional Director for Eurasia and South Asia Andrew Wilson and Afghanistan Program Officer Gregg Willhauck were in Kabul this week to conduct internal CIPE staff meetings and to meet with local partners. Together with CIPE Kabul staff, they met with Integrity Watch Afghanistan to discuss corruption issues, as well as the Afghanistan Builders’ Association to examine capacity-building needs of associations. They held a series of briefings on CIPE’s Afghanistan programs with key U.S. Embassy and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officials, including Ambassador Hilda M. Arellano, Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs. CIPE staff also met with Co-President of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Khanjan Alokozai to support efforts by the Kabul branch of the organization in implementing CIPE’s British High Commission-funded program to build PAJCCI’s capacity and improve trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan – CIPE Senior Program Officer for South Asia Marc Schleifer was in Karachi this week to conduct internal CIPE staff discussions, as well as to meet with both the staff and board of the Karachi branch of PAJCCI to discuss progress in implementing the program activities and steps that can be taken to improve communication between the Kabul and Karachi branches of the organization. Schleifer and Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui traveled to Islamabad and Rawalpindi to meet with the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the upcoming Annual Chamber Presidents’ Conference, to discuss CIPE consultant Ali Salman’s launch of a new economic policy think tank, to meet with the head of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation to discuss potential future cooperation with CIPE, and to meet program staff at DFID to provide a briefing on CIPE’s activities in the country. CIPE Pakistan Country Director Moin Fudda and Regional Director for Eurasia and South Asia Andrew Wilson joined Schleifer and Siddiqui in Islamabad for meetings with key officials at the U.S. Embassy and USAID, and staff at the British High Commission to brief them on the PAJCCI program. Wilson and Fudda also met with World Bank staff to discuss CIPE’s work on corporate governance in state-owned enterprises in Pakistan.
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