In serving the private sector, the chamber looks back on a long history, which started 84 years ago. For the first time in 1931, Afghan traders established Commercial Arbitration Association to integrate their business activities and also defend their rights. Later on this organization was transformed into the chamber of commerce and industries to promote domestic production and trade in all provinces. In the beginning of the millennium the former state controlled chamber made a dynamic leap forward. The chamber law of 2009 ensured that the ACCI is an independent and democratic organization. This approach allows for close co-operation between the public and private sectors and enables the creation of a self-regulated business sector throughout the country.
Currently, the Chamber represents over 90 % of the total Afghan work force. ACCI is headquartered in Kabul and operates 27 branch chambers in 25 provinces. Its current membership exceeds 65,000 companies and 243 business unions, association and cooperatives who represent a vast majority of the total Afghan workforce.
Today, ACCI is uniquely positioned to influence the pace of economic growth and reform. Strategically nestled at the nexus of public, investor, donor, academia, media, and foreign channels, the Chamber is facilitating the interests of the Afghan private sector to a diverse audience.
Through its business advocacy, the Chamber is seeking a balance between regulation and revenue. As a vehicle for promoting trade and investment, it is opening new markets for Afghan products, matching potential buyers with potential sellers, and advancing the investment narrative of the nation. From access to networks of global partners, the Chamber is acquiring valuable market information and international lobbying services on behalf of the Afghan business community.
Based on ACCI’s Bylaw, ACCI’s High Council the utmost decision maker within the Chamber structure. Members of the High Council are comprised of the Board of Directors from provincial chambers. They are elected for three years terms through a free and fair election under supervision of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC). And then the High Council elects the Board of Directors as same term.
ACCI’s Board of Directors is responsible to set up and monitor implementation of policy framework of the Chamber and advice the government, parliament and relative entities on economic policy within the framework of the Market Economy System. Additionally, 25 sector committees advise the Board of Directors on specific issues to a given sector.
ACCI’s Executive Team comprises the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Deputy CEO for Policy, Deputy CEO for Administrative & Financial Affairs and 11 functional departments. Provincial chambers are governed by their respective boards and operated by senior managers and a team of clerical staff under supervision of the CEO.
The ACCI is on the firm belief that the improvement of the enabling environment for doing business is a shared concern of all stakeholders. ACCI provides the following services to its members:
Advocacy and Interest Representation:
The chamber law mandates the ACCI as the leading voice of the private sector to represent domestic and foreign companies in all matters pertaining a conducive environment. Therefore, the chamber implements a wide range of activities through the Department of Government Relations and Policy, which is in direct contact with the relevant government and non-government agencies. Every year, the chamber organizes special meetings with the President of Afghanistan and participates in economic committees to draft new business related laws and revise old ones.
During the past decade, Afghan business community has been encouraged to expand their economic activities outside the country. For these companies the ACCI provides a gateway to foreign markets by organizing matchmaking conferences, exhibitions and fairs. The International Department thereby is aware that businesses need favorable conditions and closely collaborates with international, foreign and national organizations to reach this objective. The chamber is represented in the developed and emerging markets through its twelve business councils, which connect the Afghan business community with the outside world. Among the target markets are the neighboring countries, Middle and Near East, Europe and the USA.
Industry and Export Promotion:
Compared with volumes in trade and imports the Afghan export sector remains small. In the field of export development the ACCI provides a range of services to Afghan traders through the Industry and Export Promotion Department. Among them are the following: preparation and issuing the Certificate of Origin, registering business invoices, offering necessary advice and cooperating in removing trade obstacles inside and outside the country. Since the past five years, ACCI has issued 123,500 invoices and 26,220 certificate of origin for Afghan exporters. Furthermore, the chamber supports entrepreneurs to introduce international standards for quality assurance and packaging.
Business Development Services:
The ACCI provides information and guidance to build the foundation for business success. In close cooperation with public and private agencies ACCI supports enterprises and associations to introduce modern management tools. The trainings in areas like business planning, accounting and procurement enable companies to benefit from the growing business opportunities in Afghanistan and worldwide. BDS Department provides opportunity for businesses to access local tenders through www.kabul-tenders.org Additionally, the department provides reliable and accurate business information from national and international organizations across an array of sectors and provinces, and also provides webinar business conferences with traders overseas through Business Communication Hub in ACCI.
Legal Services and Arbitration Department:
Private entrepreneurs often face disagreements and conflict in enforcing and interpreting the provisions of contracts. The resolution of such conflicts through legal and judiciary channels is complex and time consuming. According to 8th provision of Law on ACCI, the Chamber provides arbitration services to private sector by “Arbitration and Legal Services Department”. This department has received more than 100 cases of commercial dispute during 2012 and 2013 and even resolved in some cases. In addition, the chamber provides advice in other juridical issues ranging from business registration to tax declaration.
It’s worthy noted that ACCI in financial support from HARAKAT (Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization) has recently established the Afghanistan Commercial Dispute Resolution Center (ACDR) aims to institutionalize commercial dispute resolution and mediation for the private sector that commercial disputes to be resolved faster and at lower costs.
ACCI Sector Committees:
1- Export Committee
2- Import Committee
3- Industries Committee
4- Mines Committee
5- Businesswomen Committee
6- Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Products Committee
7- Transport and Transit Committee
8- Construction Committee
9- Medicine and Medical Equipment Committee
10- Oil and Gas Committee
11- Media Committee
12- Marble and Granite Committee
13- Tourism and Hajj Committee
14- Health Committee
15- Education Committee
16- Carpet Production Committee
17- International Affairs Committee
18- Business Development Services Committee
19- Craftsmen Committee
20- Banking Services Committee
21- Currency Exchange Committee
22- Airlines and Cargo Committee
23- Higher Education Committee
24- Protecting of Consumers’ Rights Committee
25- Norm and Standard Committee