The UN General-Secretary’s special envoy discussed the ministry's efforts to support private sector development and urged continued dialogue with women entrepreneurs, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Twitter.
“UN envoy (Roza) Otunbayeva and Ramiz Alakbarov (OCHA humanitarian coordinator) discussed with de facto authorities’ Ministry of Industry & Commerce efforts to support private sector development, urging continued dialogue with women entrepreneurs in order to help their and Afghanistan's advancement,” UNAMA said.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce said that the meeting covered women’s access to regional and world markets as well as support for women entrepreneurs.
“There were talks about the facilitation of trade licenses for women entrepreneurs, which we had already issued for women ourselves. We provided women with licenses to work and to do business and have companies. And there was discussion over women entrepreneurs' access to free markets,” said Akhundzada Abdul Salam, a spokesman for the MoIC.
Some women entrepreneurs complained of the lack of proper markets for their products.
“The women entrepreneurs unfortunately do not have domestic sales and access to outside markets. One of the problems is a shortage of budgets and another problem is a lack of markets,” said Nafisa, an entrepreneur.
Meanwhile, economists believe that supporting women entrepreneurs can help the economic growth of the country.
“The economic growth of women can help in the alleviation of poverty in the society and the support of national revenue; the economic independence of women is a move toward the improvement of society,” said Seyar Qureshi, an economist.
“Unfortunately, restrictions on banks have affected economic activities and caused challenges in international trade both in imports and exports,” said Abdul Naseer Rishtia, an economist.
This comes as some traders expressed concerns that the private sector has been facing challenges in money transactions.
According to the statistics of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACIM), around 4,000 women has official licenses for business activities in the country.