ACCI Holds Roundtable on Access to Finance and Technical Assistance

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries held the Roundtable on Access to Finance & Technical Assistance in collaboration with German Development Cooperation with Afghanistan (GIZ) on Sunday 16 June 2013 in Kabul.

250 entrepreneurs including 30% businesswomen attended the roundtable.

The roundtable aimed to address the main challenges facing entrepreneurs in accessing to finance in Afghanistan, to recommend solutions for the problems identified, to inform the businesses and entrepreneurs about the existing services provided by donor funded projects, to exchange ideas between entrepreneurs, especially women in business with financial institutions and finally to agree for future coordination among entrepreneurs, donor funded projects and other financial institutions in Afghanistan.

Mr. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, CEO of ACCI outlined tangible progresses of Afghan economy during past decade that definitely has been driving generously supports from international community as well as activities of private sector.

“Despite the growth of private sector, but they still face serious challenges such as lack of accessibility to capital, existing trade transit challenges with neighboring countries, existing corruption in government entities, insecurity, lack of infrastructures and also existence of mafia in the economy. But, the important thing that is caused tardy growth of private sector is lack accessibility to finance and technical assistance. This issue has been stating several times in ACCI’s surveys especially from businesswomen. It’s fact that there have been several donor organizations and microfinance entities in the country, but their performances have not satisfied private sector. The Afghan entrepreneurs always complain the entities because of their complicated procedures, weak public outreach on information of services, weak coordination between the donors and microfinance entities as well as entrepreneurs, duplicate activates by donors in one sector and misusing a few private sector (there are some evidences that some bodies have obtained multiple grants from several entities by a business proposal) and also none enough paying attention to capacity building of private sector to empower businesses to get the grants. Thus, ACCI decided to hold the roundtable in order to gather donors and microfinance and also entrepreneurs in a umbrella that both donors present their services to business and also all entrepreneurs be informed about the services.” Haqjo said.

The following donor organizations and finance institutions delivered separate presentations on their services:

1-     Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE), is funded by USAID;

2-     Afghan Business Innovative Fund (ABIF), is funded by UK Department for International Development (DFID);

3-     Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), is an Initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL);

4-     New Market Development (NMD), is funded by World Bank and implementing by GIZ and Ministry of Commerce and Industries;

5-     International Finance Corporation (IFC) is funded by World Bank;

6-     Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperatives Group (IIFC Group), a national association of the network of cooperatives in Afghanistan;

7-     Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA), a non-profit microfinance company.

At the end of roundtable, participants delivered their questions and suggestions particularly on complicated procedures of donors, weak public outreach on services, none existence of regional offices of donors in provinces.

Organizing such roundtables is so important for ACCI to gather donor organizations and microfinance entities in a umbrella and to make a network between the entities and private sector that both private sector be informed about the services provided by them and also these entities present services to target enterprises.