Afghanistan Owned Solution: Creating Jobs for Afghanistan through Private Sector Project Funding

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AUTHORS:
Consortium - Advisory Group

SUMMARY:
Over the last eight years the amount of private sector development funds available and ready to invest in Afghanistan has reached historic highs. A list of 41 countries that have made monetary commitments towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction and redevelopment is contained in Appendix 2. At the June 12, 2008, conference in Paris, Afghanistan formally presented its Afghan National Development Strategy, asking for $50.1 billion during 2009-2014 from international donors.

Notwithstanding, only a very small percentage of commitments have been converted into actual funded programs and initiatives. The support mechanisms include, but are not limited to, direct grant investments, loans, and guarantees. Some of the most pressing program sectors include private-sector projects in agriculture and agri-business development. The lacking elements for success is the continuation of war zone challenges, but more challenging is the lack of inter-structure between the U.S. Agencies, support from foreign governments donors, Afghanistan Government, and the private sector. There has been no vehicle that can connects and all of these organizations and focused on connecting the dot’s of opportunity with the private sector groups that can produce concrete proposals for investment implementation, once all of the approvals have been awarded. This proposal represents a collaboration of new and different approaches required to jump start the private sector investment in Afghanistan.

The on-going hostilities in the region, challenges to safety and security and perceived or actual election concerns all contribute to the lack of project execution. Furthermore, the delay in having its national election and the irregularities in the most recent election have had a chilling effect on private sector investment. These challenges aside, we believe that Afghanistan Government and the donor nations must position Afghanistan to stimulate and effectively utilize a reinvigorated private sector investment effort. We believe that Creating Jobs for Afghanistan through Private Sector Funding will make a significant contribution in terms of jump starting private sector investment.

Our primary goal is to develop new investment approaches and opportunities that can be in quick response to truly sustainable job creation opportunities in the Agriculture and Agri-business sectors. The second focus would be on having the Afghanistan Government provide in-kind staff to be assigned to the project on a full-time basis and assist in and complete the first demonstrated pilot projects.
This would count as their contribution and build capacity.

This new approach comes in responding to an Afghanistan Government request to assist with the restart of the private sector in regard to new investment opportunities. The proposed program would be an Afghanistan-owned approach to develop new, effective ways to encourage private-sector investment and to demonstrate the government’s ability to act decisively and in concert with both private-sector funding sources and foreign governments’ desire to fund and develop new programs that encourage private vestment. Simply put, economic growth is essential to any form of long-term stability1 in Afghanistan, and business and investment are key to that growth.