Washington, DC — In a move to improve the business climate and create more economic opportunity, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and local business leaders from the Afghan province of Balkh just released a Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) report that highlights recommendations for reforms to reduce corruption, improve security, reduce taxes, and improve infrastructure.
“Local business leaders have worked hard to come up with an agenda that will boost economic opportunity in the province,” Andrew Wilson, Acting Executive Director of CIPE, said today. “They are ready to work with the government to implement the reforms and create jobs and opportunity for the people of Balkh.”
Balkh’s Provincial Director of Finance, Mohammad Eshaq Sarwary, stated, “I strongly believe that for the economic growth of the country it is crucial to assist the private sector and improve the business climate. There are valuable suggestions included in the Balkh PBA and now it is the obligation of the government to implement them in order to enable the private sector to grow.”
The Balkh PBA is one of four reports that CIPE has worked on in the four regional economic “hubs” in Afghanistan outside of the capital, Kabul. Besides Balkh, these provinces include Herat, Nangarhar and Kandahar.
The reports build on the CIPE-supported 2011 National Business Agenda (NBA) process. In March 2011, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a coalition of mostly sectoral Afghan business associations released a National Business Agenda for Afghanistan.
As a result of intense advocacy efforts by the business community involved in the NBA process, major economic reforms were enacted, including an anti-monopoly law, banking reforms, and land leasing reforms. CIPE provided financial and technical assistance in organizing and managing the NBA process.
Because of the NBA success, CIPE and its Afghan business community partners chose to replicate this NBA model at the provincial level.
With the massive reduction in foreign military troops across the country and the commensurate reduction in development spending by the international donor community, many of the provinces outside Kabul are experiencing significant economic contractions.
The PBA report is the result of recommendations made by over 400 representatives of business associations who participated in a meeting held in Balkh in December 2014. To read the report visit: www.cipe.org/publications/detail/balkh-provincial-business-agenda.