Washington, DC — The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and local business leaders from the Afghan province of Herat just released a Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) report that highlights recommendations for reforms that will reduce corruption, improve security, reduce taxes, increase access to credit, and improve infrastructure. All of these reforms are designed to improve the business climate in the province and create more economic opportunity.
“These much needed reforms would greatly improve the business climate in Herat,” John Sullivan, Executive Director of CIPE said today. “Local businesses have put a lot of thought into what is needed to help businesses start and grow in their region.”
Mohammad Asef Rahimi, Governor of Herat stated, “I strongly commit myself to implement the recommendations of the PBA … to provide a conducive environment for the private sector in Herat. Political will exists to resolve the problems of the private sector.”
The Herat 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 Herat, these provinces include Balkh, Nangarhar and Kandahar.
The reports build on the business community’s successful achievements during the CIPE-supported 2011 National Business Agenda (NBA) process. In March 2011, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the national apex chamber of commerce in the country, and a coalition of 10 other mostly sectoral Afghan business associations released a report entitled, the National Business Agenda for Afghanistan.
As a result of intense advocacy efforts by the business community involved in the NBA process, major reforms were enacted. These included a competition law, anti-monopoly law, norms and standards law, banking reforms, and land leasing reforms, just to name a few. 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 through a series of Provincial Business Agendas developed in 2014-15.
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 that are resulting in business closings, increased unemployment, and reduced commerce and investment.
The PBA report is the result of recommendations made by over 450 representatives of business associations who participated in a meeting held in Herat in October 2014. To read the report (in English) visit: http://www.cipe.org/publications/detail/herat-provincial-business-agenda