Afghanistan Private Sector Identified Their Top Priorities for London Conference

Kabul, private sector conference19 October, 2014 – A one-day conference under the name of Private Sector Priorities for Reform Conference was held on 19th October, 2014, at Intercontinental Hotel, Kabul. The event was jointly organized by Harakat – Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization (AICFO) and Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).

The aim of the conference was to indentify and develop a short list of practical and realistic reforms intended to remove constraints to doing business and economic growth.  The proposed reforms are expected to be implemented by the new Afghan government in 3 -5 years’ time. The recommendations from this Conference will be presented at a private sector roundtable in London in late November, the day before the London Conference on Afghanistan, which will be co-chaired by the Afghan President and the UK Prime Minister.

The economic advisor to the President Mr. Omar Zakhilwal opened the conference. In his speech he said that government would back up the recommendations of the private sector priorities reform conference and looked forward to receiving the recommendations soon.

Harakat CEO Mr. Nassem Abkar and ACCI CEO spoke at the conference. In his address Mr. Akbar urged the government to implement reforms in areas of public services, economic policy, investment strategy, industrial development policy and private sector development.

Around 200 people from the private sector participated in the event. They were divided into 8 specific working groups for each AM and PM sessions. The morning session focused on eight economic sectors i.e. agriculture, agribusiness, extractive (large), extractive (marble, gemstone), construction, services (I, II) and manufacturing. The participants discussed the obstacles of their respective sectors at length which was facilitated by field experts. The afternoon session touched on cross-cutting topics namely access to finance, access to electricity, access to industrial land, streamlining & simplifying business-related admin procedure, work force development, trade & transit and women in business. The working groups elaborated on how the cross-cutting topics are hindering the growth of their businesses and what were the solutions to overcome these challenges.

Towards the end of the event, the working groups came up with their top three priorities for each sector. The conference was concluded by Harakat board member Mr. Tamim Sami. In his short demo, he explained the next 6 steps that would take place to further the momentum of the conference including a highly possible meeting with the government about the outcomes of the conference.