ACCI Holds Second High Council Congress

ACCI began the Second High Council Congress in Kabul.  The event was attended by 319 newly elected provincial board members, Ministers of Commerce and Industries, Transport and Civil Aviation, Telecommunication; Head of Independent Elections Commission (IEC) as well as a few high ranking government and non-government officials.  The Congress lasted for two days.

The first day of the Congress opened with a speech by Mr. Mahmoud Karzai, outgoing First Vice-Chairman of ACCI who underlined the challenges facing the Afghan private sector.  Mr. Karzai said that the lack of infrastructures such as road and power; weak governance; transit problems with neighboring countries; security; bureaucracy and corruption; and the lack of enforcement related to income tax and customs laws continue to hinder the growth of the private sector.

He also referenced a World Bank report on strengthening the economy that cited a stronger regulatory framework for commercial activities; hiring based on merit; contract rights and enforcement laws; access to credit, and the need to accelerate the privatization of some state controlled enterprises.

Following Mr. Karzai’s remarks, H.E. Anwar Al-Haq Ahadi, Minister of Commerce and Industries spoke of his hope that elections would result in a Chamber Board populated by qualified individuals who could affect change that positively impacts the Afghan economy.   He also counseled that, “A market economy is impossible without mutual cooperation between government and private sector.”

The Head of IEC, Mr. Fazle Ahmad Manawi linked elections to independence.  He added, “Today, I hope that I am witnessing an election for an organization whose foundation is based on elections two years ago.  Election brings independent management to any organization.  Therefore, there is hope that a new Board through having independent decision-making would enable growth in the private sector, create job opportunities, and thereby reduce poverty.”

Finally, Mr. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, Chief Executive Officer of ACCI briefly presented a three-year report on the progression of the Chamber, its activities, and achievements.

Thereafter, High Council members were called upon to approve changes presented to modify ACCI Bylaws.  All modifications were approved; they will serve to strengthen the governance of the Chamber, making it more transparent and accountable to its members.

On the second day of the Congress, election for a national Board of Directors was conducted starting at 9:00 am.  Forty-six candidates, including 3 women, competed for 21 seats on the national Board.  ACCI’s 21-member national Board of Directors is elected from among the 319 members of the High Council.  The counting of ballots was supervised by IEC and at 4:30 pm, the results were announced as shown on the following Table, for download click here.

About the High Council

The Council’s primary responsibility is to craft an advocacy platform from which it will advise the government and parliament on economic policy issues.  The High Council is the utmost decision maker within the Chamber structure.  Members of the High Council are comprised of the Board of Directors from 21 provincial chambers.  They were recently elected for three years terms through a free and fair election supervised by the Independent Elections Commission (IEC).

Provincial elections were held from September 11th through October 14th in 21 provinces.  During this period, membership in the Chamber increased from approximately 35,000 to an estimated 62,000 as individuals and enterprises sought to exercise their right to vote for the future of ACCI.