Area Profile remains under development and will be updated soon.
AISA was established as a public service limited liability
company within the framework of Ministry of Commerce under the supervision
of High Commission for Investment in Afghanistan.
Recent developments in the area include ... link to
recent investment announcements (region)
Vice President for
Support Agency (AISA)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
contacts : (background and e-mails available on the AISA website)
President & CEO
Abdul Salam Zahed,
M. Sharif Roshan
Ahamdzai, Investment Manager
Eng. Abdul k. Safi,
Service Provider Relationships
service providers reported to be very familiar with direct investment
considerations in this area from previous work on major investment projects
or among leading investors there:
Other suggested contacts for investment planning in
Afghanistan, such as regional and local contacts who work together with AISA, and websites
Kabul Chamber of Commerce & Industry
International Chambers of Commerce of Afghanistan
Reconstruction Task Force - US Dept of Commerce http://www.export.gov/afghanistan/
US Embassy, Kabul
embassies, UN agencies, World Bank representatives, etc.
Progress Report - excerpt from
speech on first anniversary of AISA
past year AISA has registered 726 investment projects amounting to $493
Million of which 581 are domestic, 127 foreign and 18 joint ventures. The
investment projects when become operational will produce 49,586 jobs. We
have additional $300 Million worth of new projects in the pipeline.
While we see an increasing interest for investment in
Afghanistan, the need for providing industrial land to built new production
facilities, electric power, commercial insurance and financing are still
some of the challenges to overcome."
"In cooperation with the Ministry of Light Industry, Ministry
of Housing and the Ministry of Environment and water resources we are in the
process of building four industrial parks in and around Kabul. Seventeen
industrial park projects are planned nationwide. A $20 Million ADB loan
assistance has been budgeted by the Ministry of Commerce toward building
some of these industrial parks.
With a special grant from USAID three Industrial Parks will be built in
Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-e- Sharif. The Bagrami Industrial Park in Kabul
will be completed and ready for distribution by October of this year."
President & CEO of AISA
This Area Profile was prepared by GDI Solutions as a
voluntary contribution to the important work of AISA.
We have not been involved in the support of direct
investment projects into Afghanistan.
We are not compensated in any way to promote investment into
We expect to maintain periodic contact with AISA to improve
the content made available through this website, which reflects our own
judgment about the interests of the executives and advisors we serve.
Such content may therefore differ from AISA's own website.
We make no endorsement or warranty about the services
provided by AISA, or vice versa.
Relationship leader at GDI Solutions for potential
Please advise regarding any necessary corrections to this
The relationship leader is responsible for maintaining
sufficiently frequent contact and knowledge at GDI Solutions about the participating area.
The leader keeps published GUIDE Area Profiles timely and consistent, and serves
as an initial point of contact for any investors who may choose not to
contact the local area representatives yet about their interests, such as at
a very exploratory or confidential stage of project planning or information
In the 1960's and 1970's, few businesspeople would probably
have identified Afghanistan readily on a map of the world, much less have
actually known anything about it. At best, perceptions were often
shaped by the Cold War political context and greater interests in other
parts of South Asia and the Middle East. There might have been
recognition that Alexander and other empires passed this way, or that the
British also had trouble trying to rule it in the context of their "Great
Game" in Asia against other powers of that era, but that just reflects
stereotypes shaped by Kipling and other tales from the Raj in centuries
For many, as an extremely poor country, there seemed to be
little reason to even pay any attention to Afghanistan until the Soviet
Union invaded. What followed certainly did not help to build the image
of the country as a place of potential interest for long-term business
investments. It could now be found on the map, but was clearly
perceived as a dangerous, lawless place of little importance to modern,
international business interests. Once the Soviet threat was removed,
the country was largely ignored again, while new conflicts reinforced
western perceptions that this was certainly not an attractive business
Afghanistan obviously remains in the middle of a region of
dangerous conflicts, but this also reflects the role as a traditional
crossroads of South Asia, with strong ethnic ties and trading legacies
linking it across borders to other countries. The problems and
progress of neighboring countries directly affect Afghanistan, just as the
flow of millions of Afghan refugees into other countries created many
challenges in the early 1980's and 1990's.
The importance of successfully rebuilding a more stable
and prosperous country with better relationships with other nations, both in
and beyond the region, has finally gained more active support both inside
the country and elsewhere. This creates many opportunities as well as
challenges, including uncertainties about the long-term commitments on both
sides as the country changes to develop within the complex context of their
cultural heritage and conflicts in the region. Will the foreign
commitments to Afghanistan endure this time?
Afghanistan obviously does not yet enjoy a stable business
environment, but neither do many other low-income countries where the lack
of comparable recent hardships may not focus their leaders as decisively on
the value of business development, with top government officials welcoming
foreign investment and actively trying to eliminate costly "red tape".
from left column ...
In Afghanistan, there is
little doubt that responsible foreign investors will be welcomed as warmly
as the traditional hospitality of the Afghan people would suggest.
There are many problems, as in other countries, but there is also the will
to overcome the problems together as friends. Those looking to do
business in the region need to understand the importance of commitment,
patience, cross-cultural sensitivity, and effective local networks of
Despite the many risks involved, the Afghan people are
also legendary for their loyalty to their friends, tenacity when challenged,
and savvy as negotiators with a long heritage as traders. There are
many opportunities in this fast-changing environment for those who are
willing to make the long-term commitments necessary to help rebuild the
country with the mutual respect, tolerance, loyalty and cultural sensitivity
required to be successful beyond simply taking advantage of any foreign aid
projects as Afghanistan is rebuilt.
In an era when business is not constrained by distance or
roads, railways, ports and other traditional infrastructure or local market
size, Afghanistan's unfortunate experience of generating so many refugees
for 25 years may actually create some unique opportunities through the
business connections and capabilities which they developed in exile.
While executives recognize this pattern in places like
India, where so many successful expatriates have returned after leaving for
higher education and economic opportunity, they may not yet have even
noticed the opportunities which are emerging in Afghanistan as the refugees
return. Modern infrastructure and academic programs are being rebuilt
with a clear focus on integrating Afghanistan into the world economy, rather
than isolating it again. It will not happen overnight, but the recent
presidential election in Afghanistan bodes well.
Relatively few foreign companies retained operations in
Afghanistan during the many years of conflict, so that leaves the market
open now to those pioneers with the commitment to pursue it despite the
challenges involved. Who would have predicted a few years ago that
Kabul would soon have Internet cafes and cell phones everywhere? There
is more potential for Afghanistan in this networked world than as a global
base for drug or terrorist networks. Foreign direct investment is
needed, however, to help create that better future together.
former US Vice
Consul in Karachi, Pakistan 1981-83