PAK-AFGHAN BUSINESS WOMEN JOIN HANDS

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad (Commerce Reporter+DNA) FPCCI and IWCCI on Friday pledged to support the women entrepreneurship in Afghanistan which can change the destiny of the war-torn country with a battered economy.The assurance came in a meeting chaired by President FPCCI Zubair Ahmed Malik which was attended by CEO Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan Najlla Habibyar, President IWCCI Farida Rashid, Samina Fazil, Executive Director PEAD Samina Imtiaz, MPA KP Province Amna Sardar, members of Pak-Afghan Women Forum, and leading Pakistani and Afghan businesswomen.

Speaking on the occasion, the FPCCI president said that women are some of the most vulnerable members of Afghan society which has resisted their growth including entrepreneurship activities.

Zubair Ahmed Malik said that Afghan women have been supplementing the meagre earnings of their families by engaging in weaving carpets, handicrafts, ornaments, tailoring, jewellery, embroidery, pottery, cooking, and farming etc. but they got little appreciation.

However, he said, the situation in urban centres has been changing with more and more women striving to take part in the economic activities which must be supported.

Many Afghan businesswomen have not been able to communicate with the market and receive feedback which can improve the quality of their products and open doors to increased opportunities, therefore FPCCI and IWCCCI have decided to extend all possible support to them, he assured.

Malik also asked the international community to help Afghanistan exploit treasures of minerals buried in various parts of the country which can turn around Afghanistan bringing an end to extremism.

Speaking at the occasion, Samina Fazil and Farida Rashid said that Pakistan government should support SMEs which are a key economic driver of Afghanistan constituting 75 per cent of the labour force and generating over 50 per cent of GDP.

They said that we will fully support Afghan women through information sharing, networking, sharing experience, education, business-to-business meetings, expos and training.

They said that small loans can help Afghan women can start projects, developed their farms and livestock to boost their role in the market economy.

The leaders of women entrepreneurs said that Afghan businesswomen struggle to obtain the capital, management advice, equipment, and technologies they need to grow their businesses for which international community needs to take serious steps. .

Widespread leakages further blocks women entrepreneurs to take on business initiative while banks provide loans on high interest rate while there are insufficient subsidies for women entrepreneurs.

As the deadline for withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan nears concerns are increasing that hard-fought gains made by Afghan women will be rolled back, said Farida Rashid.

The participants also discussed issues pertaining to Afghan transit trade, smuggling, terrorism, cross border issues, role of India, Nato supplies, education, infrastructure, regional and international issues and impact of politics on trade.

24 Aug 2013