Three decades of conflict devastated Afghanistan’s economy and drove more than 2.5 million Afghans away from their homes and livelihoods. Since that time, the Afghan economy has grown dramatically, with Gross Domestic Product rising to more than $20 billion– five times higher than in 2002.
USAID and Afghan Government’s commitment to economic growth has:
- established 125 business associations and Chambers of Commerce and Industry – including 27 owned by women – in urban centers such as Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Kunduz and Mazar-i Sharif;
- facilitated marble exports exceeding $24 million annually; and
- helped more than 2,700 Afghan enterprises obtain over $32 million in loans.
Afghanistan continues to face economic hurdles, as it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Insecurity and corruption threaten efforts to establish an inclusive, growing, and self-sustaining economy that attracts investment, promotes trade and creates jobs. USAID is committed to continued Afghan economic growth by providing access to credit, facilitating business expansion and job creation, increasing market access, encouraging regional trade and integration, and promoting legal and regulatory reforms that attract new domestic and international investment.
PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
USAID helps micro, small, and medium-sized businesses receive loans, connect to new markets, and learn new skills. USAID is working to increase job placements and wages for 25,000 Afghans, 25 percent of whom will be women, through increased access to quality technical and business education and training, job placement support services, and by facilitating access to credit and business development opportunities. By working to reduce compliance costs for businesses and promote private-sector enabling legislation, USAID works to improve the business climate and transparency to make Afghanistan more attractive to domestic and international investors.
Since 2009, USAID has strengthened Afghanistan’s private sector with management training, market information assistance, and public-private alliance grants. USAID has worked with the Afghan government to launch 88 public-private partnerships, leveraging more than $130 million from private-sector partners in construction, food processing, consumer goods manufacturing, insurance, natural-resource extraction, apparel, communications/media, and information technology. USAID interventions have generated more than $354 million in sales and services for farmers and agribusinesses through improved value chains and productivity.
Since 2011, USAID-facilitated loans to individuals and businesses have created or sustained more than 100,000 jobs. USAID is providing critical financing for Afghan businesses through credit guarantees. USAID is also supporting the development of mobile money as an innovative way to expand access to digital finance and reduce corruption through secure technology.
ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE AND TRADE
USAID has worked with the Afghan government, private sector, and international partners to implement laws and policies to support trade, increase exports, promote transparency, and reduce trade barriers. USAID helped the Afghan government negotiate the Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement and supports its implementation as well as Afghanistan’s ongoing efforts to join the World Trade Organization. Since USAID began providing technical assistance for customs reform in 2009, average times for goods crossing Afghanistan’s borders have decreased from several days to just a few hours. Through improved processing and marketing, USAID has facilitated agriculture export sales of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and cashmere worth over $54 million to India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and other countries.
Afghanistan’s rich natural resources could accelerate economic growth and provide an important source of government revenue. USAID is helping to build the technical, regulatory, and governance capacities of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, private sector, and community partners to responsibly develop the mining sector.
USAID has provided technical and financial support to build the capacity of the Afghan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and to support the growth of the telecommunications sector in Afghanistan, which has grown to a $1.81 billion per year industry employing more than 135,000 people. USAID continues to promote critical legal and regulatory reforms to enhance the sector’s growth.
- Afghan Growth Finance (AGF)
- Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR)
- Afghanistan Workforce Development Program (AWDP)
- Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE)
- Building Livelihoods and Trade by Turquoise Mountain Foundation (TMF)
- Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP)
- Development Credit Authority (DCA)
- Strengthening Communities: Empowering People with Disabilities through Employment Project (SC-EPDE)
- E-Governance Resource Center (EGRC)
- Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA)
- Investment Climate Reform Program in Afghanistan (Doing Business Indicators)
- Land Reform in Afghanistan (LARA)
- Mining Investment and Development for Afghanistan Sustainability (MIDAS)
- Multi-Input Area Development - Global Development Alliance (MIAD GDA)
- Afghan New Beginning Program
- Afghanistan Credit Support Program (ACSP)
- Afghanistan National Innovation and Competitiveness Program
- Afghanistan Renewal Fund
- Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ASMED)
- Agriculture, Rural Investment, and Enterprise Strengthening (ARIES)
- Aid Management and Coordination and Public Information
- Air Traffic Controllers Training to the Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation (MoCAT) (Phase II)
- Arazi (Afghan Land Authority) via MAIL (Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock) On-Budget Component
- Better Than Cash
- Economic Governance & Private Sector Strengthening (EGPSS)
- Economic Governance in Afghanistan
- Economic Growth and Governance Initiative (EGGI)
- English and Computer Basic Training for Afghanistan Geology Survey (AGS)
- Establishment of National Payment System
- Industrial Estates Development
- Land Titling and Economic Restructuring Activity (LTERA)
- Promoting Sustainable Private Sector Development
- Provision of Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Finance/Treasury
- Rural Finance and Cooperative Development (RUFCOD)
- Strengthening Private Sector through Capacity Building
- Trade Accession and Facilitation for Afghanistan (TAFA)
- Women Enterprise Development (WED)
- Women in Government Internship Program (WIG)
Last updated: January 22, 2015