Legal protections for businesses are critical to long-term economic growth, and Afghanistan’s legal regime for commerce is underdeveloped. Commercial laws are poorly written and inconsistently applied. Further, the country lacks skilled lawyers and judges able to argue and adjudicate commercial cases. The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), an Inter-Agency Agreement between USAID and the Department of Commerce, is a vital step towards improving the legal environment for business in Afghanistan. A $7 million CLDP award began in October 2014 and ends in September 2016.
The program consists of four components, each designed to address a specific gap: (1) increase the capacity of the Afghan academic community to provide commercial law education; (2) promote a business enabling environment where the Afghan private sector can engage in legitimate and transparent business practices, avoid legal disputes, and resolve disputes properly; (3) enhance the capacity of the Afghan government to effectively administer and enforce commercial law; and (4) develop and strengthen alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Develop commercial law clinics and trade law courses at Afghan universities.
- Support a moot court competition program at Kabul University Law School, establish similar programs at one to three other Afghan law schools, and initiate a national commercial law moot court competition.
- Broaden commercial law course offerings at Afghan law schools through training and capacity-building activities for faculty, administrators and Ministry of Higher Education officials.
- Conduct training programs and workshops on topics including legislative drafting, contract administration and arbitration/media skills for a variety of audiences, including aspiring businesswomen and officials from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) and Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI).
- Advise MoMP, MCIT, MOJ and MoCI on drafting and implementation of new laws and regulations.
- Publish and distribute two business law handbooks on company formation and dispute resolution.
- Provide support and training for the newly established Afghanistan Business Integrity Network, a private sector-managed entity that deals with corruption in the private businesses.
- Support Business Integrity Training Programs for the private sector, civil society, judiciary, media and government to improve transparency and legitimate business practices in Afghanistan.
- Establish incubation and mentorship program for alumni of CLDP.
- Conducted advanced seminar on administrative processes, Quality of Service/Pricing, Digital Television Transition for 15 mid-level officials from Afghanistan Telecommunication Regulatory Authority and MoCIT.
- Conducted commercial law clinic course for 20 Kabul University Law School students.
- Helped prepare 13 students from Kabul University, Kardan University and American University of Afghanistan in critical thinking and oral advocacy skills for the 2015 Vis (East) Moot Court competition, one of the world’s most prestigious commercial law moot competitions.
Last updated: January 15, 2015