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Thursday, April 21, 2011

A National Business Agenda for Afghanistan

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) along with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) hosted the launch of the National Business Agenda (NBA) for Afghanistan in Kabul on March 27. The National Business Agenda, which highlights a set of urgent economic policy priorities for the government, was developed through roundtable events and working groups that included more than 1,300 business leaders and entrepreneurs from five regions across Afghanistan.

As CIPE Executive Director John Sullivan noted in an article he penned for the Huffington Post: "Many of the challenges faced by Afghan entrepreneurs are similar in nature to their counterparts around the world. Like our small business owners in the United States, Afghan business owners face everyday challenges such as access to credit, onerous taxes, and burdensome regulation. However, they also have problems unique to the Afghan business environment: local governments engage in price-fixing despite constitutional prohibitions, good land is difficult to come by due to corruption and squatting, and women entrepreneurs require access to business parks in this segregated society."

Like many countries in the region where instability and unrest are present, creating long-term stability is reliant upon an environment favorable to investment and entrepreneurship, which will lead to job creation and widespread economic opportunities.

As Sullivan concluded in his article: "If Afghanistan is to assume control of its security environment in the short to medium term, its economic policies must encourage fast growth within the same time period. The National Business Agenda -- written by the Afghans business leaders who know their country best -- provides a solid foundation on which the Afghan people can build a resilient and sustainable economic future."

Let's hope Afghanistan's decision makers listen to the voices of entrepreneurs who are working hard to build an economic future for their country. All of us have a stake in their success.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO
Kerrigan was recently named as Chairman of CIPE

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