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Regional seminar on SMEs development held in Kabul

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“SMEs create around 95 percent job opportunities. These enterprises need government’s support,” says ACCI.

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Monday organized a day long regional seminar on development of the small and medium-sized enterprises.

The seminar titled “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Development in the Heart of Asia” was aimed to boost up the SMEs development process in the country.

The seminar was attended by regional experts, representatives of embassies of the Heart of Asia countries in Kabul, Afghan ministers, researchers, universities professors and members of the civil society organizations to discuss challenges and outgoing ways in order to speed up the SMEs development process.

Deputy Foreign Minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, said that organizing of the seminar is aimed to support SMEs in the country for further development.

He said the seminar would also pave the ground to learn from experiences of other countries and help each other.

“Conclusive plan is on the table to lead the discussion from military to political and economic dialogue, and it will be followed by such seminars to achieve Afghanistan’s previous economic position once again in the region,” he added.

He said that this plan would include training programs, capacity building and relations of Afghanistan’s SMEs in the region.

“As it is clear that Afghanistan could impact the region and the region could impact Afghanistan. Thus, Afghanistan itself is willing to create opportunities for economic development,” he maintained.

Pointing to insecurity, the deputy minister said that no doubt security and economic are interlinked, so it is essential to keep balance between the two.

While voicing pleasure over running of the seminar on SMEs development, the head of International Relations Committee of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) Azrakhsh Hafizi slammed the government for not providing the required support to the SMEs in the past.

He said, “SMEs create around 95 percent job opportunities. Therefore, these enterprises need government’s support.”

He came up with an example, saying that Afghan handicrafts particularly animal skin products were very famous in the pre-war era in the country and abroad, but after wars this industry is completely destroyed.

Currently, Afghanistan is a consumer country, importing everything from abroad. Around 1,024 factories are nearly to be closed due to lack of facilities and supportive programs in the country, he noted.

It is required of government and relevant ministries to support SMEs and provide them facilities such as soft loans, he said.